Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Naked Weapon |
Actors: Marit Thoresen, Almen Wong Pui-Ha, Daniel Wu, Natalie Kyoko Waters, Renee Nichole Rommeswinkel
Director: Siu-Tung Ching
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Studio: Arts Alliance America Release Date: 07/20/2004 Run time: 90 minutes Rating: R
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Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 12/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"NAKED WEAPON is another foray into the "girls who kick butt" genre. Maggie Q has been getting a lot of attention in the U.S. for MI-3, Live Free and Die Hard and Balls of Fury; I have quite a collection of her Hong Kong films and this is the film that helped break her into the action genre. Tony Ching Siu Tung directs and choreographs the fight sequences; the film is an entertaining mix of martial arts action with cool set designs. "Naked Weapon" is unrelated to Wong Jing's "Naked Killer". Wong Jing started the film but turned it over to Tony Ching in mid-production; the result is not the expected "exploitation flick" but pure action "junk".
Synopsis partially derived from the back cover:
Like a contagious virus, pretty and athletic girls in their teens are disappearing from all over the world. The mastermind behind the abductions if Madame M (Almen Wong), who plans to train the girls into cold merciless killers. After several years of intense training, only Charlene (Maggie Q), Cat (Anya Wu) and Jill (Jewel Lee) survive and become the world's best professional assassins. On a recent mission to assassinate some one in Hong Kong, Charlene crosses paths with her long-lost mother and as a result she comes face to face with a young C.I.A. agent (Daniel Wu), who vows to aid her in cutting her ties with Madame M.
However, the past threatens to catch up with Charlene and Cat....
It's quite hard to judge "Naked Weapon"; despite the usual wooden acting (mostly by Daniel Wu) and the very stiff dialogue; I did kind of like the film. The film starts off strongly enough but gets lost in the middle with the usual morality lessons and the canned melodrama. Surprisingly, the film is shot in its entirety in English and I saw both the U.S. and the Asian releases; I was amazed how the U.S. cut was differently framed and edited on some scenes, the Asian cut showed more skin and nudity. (Especially in the shower scene with Cat and Charlene and the love scene between Jack and Charlene) I suppose the best way to describe the film's weaknesses is that while it contains the all the opportunity for "exploitation" it just uses them to provide wanna-be emotional sequences. Then, it turns around and shows a rape scene that most people may find distasteful; that it is a cheap shot to emulate raw violence. Looking at the special features, I rather thought Maggie Q, Jewel Lee and Anya Wu were a bit bothered by the footage. I guess critics may say that avoiding the obvious (if harmless) exploitation scenes but instead add a rape scene leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth. For me, I thought it was rather an attempt to shock and to express the cold, bitter world of the female assassins.
To the film's credit; Naked Weapon looks incredible. During the action scenes, there are more shots of individual shots than a good perspective view. The action sequences have the usual use of wires and trampolines that may look a bit over-the-top at times but darned if they didn't look sexy and cool. Realism is pushed out the window with the kinetic action sequences. The use of slow motion is used occasionally, and boy, Maggie Q sure looks awesome with the slo-mo action. Thankfully, Daniel Wu only have a very brief action sequence (he doesn't do them well). The film has its redeeming qualities: decent martial arts action, scantily clad beautiful women dancing, bullet ballet, and limited Daniel Wu screentime.
Naked Weapon has a very strong potential and there is always "guilty pleasure" watching ultra-hot women perform mano-o-mano fights in very "short" shorts and tank tops. The film is a visual feast for the eyes; especially for testosterone-driven males (like me). I rather expected more of Tony Ching. Despite the poor script, wooden acting and that it fell to the canned melodrama entrapment that falls like a stone in water; the film did redeem itself with the stylish fight sequences reminiscent of "The Matrix". The film starts off strong and ends with the usual climactic final fight; the film's lasting impression would be how cool Maggie Q and Anya looks. I still remember the very sexy posturing...
Recommended timidly; definitely worth a rental. [3 ½ - stars]
VIDEO/AUDIO: 1.78 Anamorphic Widescreen. The U.S. and Asian release both share the exceptional video transfer with deep contrast, natural colors and strong blacks. The transfer is sharp and clean. What tips the scale in the Asian release's favor is that it has a powerful 5.1 DTS track that magnifies the viewing experience. The Mega Star version is the one to get!
This is why Maggie Q is Nikita.
Cleo | USA | 06/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director Wong Jing did a great job with this movie. It's a Hong Kong version of La Femme Nikita and it's raunchy but so pretty. The Hong Kong style of beauty is sparse features and beautiful long limbs. It's a really entertaining movie, much better than the Hong Kong pretty boy contributions to this genre."
A Brutal, And Yet Fun, Female Action Flick!
art-dog3 | Youngstown, Ohio USA | 09/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me say right off the bat that I am a fan of action films, and unapologetically so. Oh I love and prefer to have a good or great story with it, but not at the expense of the action or action sequences. Most actions films seem afraid of the action, I guess to satisfy critics. Luckily for me, this wasn't one of them.
There are more than enough reviews to tell what the story is, so I feel no need to go there again. Few action films satisfy me more, than female kick-tail action films. This one delivers in spades far as I'm concerned. The female lead Maggie Q. was a joy to watch, and was her co-lead Anya. I thought both handled the action and fight scenes well, Maggie more so. Anya said she had no special training, but I thought she did ok. I thought all the women fighters did a good job in it though.
Makes no mistake about it, this is a violent film, with a rape scene that might shock or disgust some. Considering the overall violent tone of the film, it didn't seem that out-of-place to me. This is a film with plenty of hot-looking women in it, with just enough tease and sexiness to satisfy most hot-blooded males. The women even manage to be or look sexy when they are killing each other or many men. This is not a film for kids though IMO.
It's not exactly Othello, but I thought it delivered what it was supposed to. The great thing for me, is that it was done in English without any subtitles. I think there were a few dubbed lines, most notably by the actress playing Maggie's mom. It was nice watching a Hong Kong action film in English though. I hope that becomes more common. I've been hearing good things about Maggie Q., and I think I may have become a fan. If you like all-out female action with a decent story, you'll probably love this."
Very dark and entertaining, but overall not a very good movi
morgoth | omaha, NE | 08/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Almen Wong plays a woman who runs a camp that kidnaps 12 and 13 year old girls and trains them to be assassins. They start out with about 30 girls and only one of them will survive. After the girls are trained for 6 years they are forced to kill eachother in different competitions. In the second of these competitions it is decided to let 3 of the girls live instead of 1. 2 of the the girls (Maggie Q and Anya) are very close to eachother and the other one (Jewel Lee) is a cold blooded killing machine. When the girls take up their positions as assassins, the movie all of a sudden becomes extremely boring and mindless. The cop that is following the assassins is one of the most incompetent lead actors I have ever seen. Nothing he does is believable and while he looks to be about 23 years old, he acts 14. Then you would think it would be exciting when the girls go on their missions, but there is no thought put into it. Some bad guy is inserted at the end of the movie and him and one of the girl assassins fight to the death. It is completely ridiculous! The movie is produced by Wong Jing so I did expect it to be stupid, but the budget and style are much higher caliber than most Wong Jing movies. And it lives up to its title by having plenty of good looking women in tank tops and short shorts and some brief nudity. Anya and Maggie Q alone make this worth watching.
The fights are what you would expect from Ching Siu Tung. There is tons of wirework involved and the editing is very unique. It's too flashy for my tastes, but still fun to watch. The final fight is like a comic book and if you enjoy other Ching Siu Tung movies, then you are gonna love this. I hated the final fight in The Blacksheep Affair (another Ching Siu Tung movie), but the final fight in this is a little more fluent. If you started watching kung fu movies because of The Matrix, then you are probably going to like the action in Naken Weapon. If you are more of a fan of the old school movies and don't like wirework, then this is not for you. Like I said it is too flashy for me, but I do appreciate the hard work and creativity put into it.
If you are looking for a really good new age girls with guns movie then I highly recommend Corey Yuen's So Close.
This movie was shot in English and the voice acting is a little above average. The picture quality on the Hart Sharp Video DVD is good and is widescreened. The 5.1 audio is decent.
The special feature included is a 23 minute making of featurette. This has interviews with all the lead actresses and actor, and the director. Unfortunately Ching Siu Tung does not speak English and there are no subtitles. But the rest of the interviews are very good. Only one other person doesn't speak English.