Naked Killer

Director: Clarence Fok Yiu Leung               
Chingmy Yau, Simon Yam, Carrie Ng

"So what are you guys watching?"

So came the voice of my friend's mother several years ago, who was at the top of the stairs leading down to the basement, where we were in the middle of watching a savage beating on his TV.

Relaxed and slumped into his easy chair, I wasn't feeling more like talking than watching violence. Neverless, I knew that one had to show a token amount of respect to your elders, especially since my friend seemed to be having problems explaining exactly what we were watching.

So I mumbled three syllables. Fortunately, they were loud enough for my friend to hear, and instantly inspired him to repeat them, and loudly.


That was true. What neither of us mentioned to his mother were that the foreign movie we were watching at that moment was the Australian Romper Stomper, full of glorious scenes of skinheads getting their asses kicked by others and themselves. The second movie to be watched on our double bill was the Japanese The Street Fighter (the uncut letterboxed version, of course.)

The point of this story is to try and shatter those myths that foreign films are boring. Sure, there are a number of heavy and pretentious foreign movies that make it to our shores every year, with people like Roger Ebert going orgasmic over the latest French or Danish import about depressed people, claiming that movies from countries like these are more "grown up" than American films. What he and those other critics always fail to mention is that the audiences in the countries these movies came from usually stayed away from these same movies, going instead for good old American films. They also don't mention that the foreign movies that reach our shores are just a small percentage of the total number made every year, and the foreign movies we don't see are mostly real movies. Yes, the French might act stuffy, but they make a number of action, horror, and T&A flicks every year. Another foreign place that makes a number of real movies each year is Hong Kong, Naked Killer being one of them.

Already I can hear the shrieks and snotty sniffs from lovers of those other foreign films - in other words, those who have no life. They forget that the first films ever made for the public were entertainment, and that films don't have to make you think, they can just be fun. I can still hear a few protests in the background, so for my review of Naked Killer, I am going to prove that even real movies can be found to have deep insights into various aspects of society.

Naked Killer puts its focus on hitwomen. (And before any of you art movie lovers shriek that this subject sounds exploitive, remember that your idol John Cassavetes made Gloria, a movie about a hitwomen. So shut up.) The movie teaches us a great deal about such women. For one thing, they all Well, DUHHH!!!!!seem to be lesbians, or at the least, have some lesbian tendencies. Though hitwoman Kitty (Chingmy Yau), the main female character, finds herself falling in love with male cop Timan (Simon Yam) during the course of the movie, she doesn't seem to mind when her older hitwoman teacher Sister Cindy seductively strokes her legs while she teachers her all the skills of killing. Neither does she mind, when going out for her first contract kill, dancing a seductive lesbian dance at a nightclub with her teacher in order to lower the guard of their target. The lesbian aspect of hitwomen, and their love for others in their social circle, is further illustrated by two other hitwomen characters in the movie. One of them has an intense crush on Kitty, and when she peeps on Kitty having sex with Timan, she is so frustrated that she right there and then has intense lesbian sex with her present girlfriend. Here the movie cuts back and forth between both sex scenes, though I confess I don't know what this symbolism means.

Naked Killer also teaches us about the eccentric work habits of lesbian hitwomen. Apparently, professional hitwomen find new students by looking for women who energetically stab men they Our heroine plays the Chinese version of the Pinata game on this guydislike in the groin with scissors, even if they have only known these men for a few minutes. When fully trained, if they have the time and resources, they like to send a wave of expendable men to their target before confronting the target themselves. Usually the men get violently blown away (we see several examples of this), so it's clear that this plan is to soften the target so it's easier for themselves when they actually confront it. But the movie also illustrates that some lesbian hitwomen have unique habits. The lesbian hitwoman seen in the opening scene likes to play classical music and have a shower in her target's apartment just before the confrontation. When confronted, she kills him by first shooting him once, then doing a flip in the air and smashing each side of his head with a barbell in mid flip, then finishing with a bullet to the groin.

This is not the only blow to a groin that the movie shows us in full detail. Throughout the movie, several other groins are shot, and some (not just male) are kicked as well. Which shows that groin blows must be a common occurrence in Asian society, because I can't imagine Asian filmmakers wanting to create theaters full of people groaning and rolling on the ground, like I was soon doing. Back to the initially shot groin, it soon results in one of the first insight into the complexity of the Chinese language. One of the policemen on the scene, after commenting, "It's such a cruel murdering," mentions that, "The murderer even broke the man's dick!"

Other various idioms found in the Chinese language are illustrated at great length throughout the movie, some more examples being, "Buy some napkins in time of period. To shut his mouth and ass!", "I want to burst your t*ts", "Man, go and eat s**t!", and "I still have time to take gastric lavage." Maybe you should have asked him that before repeatedly smashing his head into the floorAlso related is the term of endearment Timan uses for his loyal policeman partner and friend, "Shithead". That is not the only interesting look at the methods and practices of members of the Hong Kong police. We learn that even if you killed your policeman brother two months earlier, and you tremble and vomit at the sight of a gun (shown twice in full detail), you can be back on the force and still carry a gun. (Related to this is the revealing fact that shooting your brother can give you impotence that can only be cured by being with a hitwoman.) We even get a look at sloppy police work, learning why you should not be eating sausage and egg at a murder scene when the victim got castrated.

Naked Killer give great insight into Chinese society as well as the world of lesbian hitwomen. It's quite an educational experience. And it also has enough stuff to make it a real movie. Before you shriek again, Two hitwomen get down to business - though not the career-related kindart movie lovers, can you say truthfully that shootouts don't happen in real life? You snots might be pleased that there aren't as many action sequences as in other Hong Kong movies, though they are all swift and brutal, just like many violent things that have happened in real life. So these action sequences are real in both senses of the word. Yes, yes, there isn't that much plot in the movie. But look at your own life so far - has it been structured like a proper story? Of course not. So it goes to show that this movie is in fact more real than your precious art films.

Of course, as I've mentioned earlier, Naked Killer is also a real movie, and a darn entertaining one as well. It's well worth adding to your own personal foreign film festival at home. Still, those with sensitive mothers might want to be cautious; I learned that mothers aren't all that dumb when my friend and I went upstairs for a break in the middle of watching Romper Stomper, and his mother asked us what movie we were watching. Now in the mood to talk, I quickly said something like, "It's a movie about a rejected part of society struggling to make its presence known, but finding their ambitions in intense opposition by not only not only other specific sections of society, but internally as well."

Without blinking, she asked, "Is it a gang movie?"

Check for availability on Amazon (DVD - 20th Century Fox edition)

See also: Fantasy Mission Force, Robotrix, The Untold Story