A few big names do little to save a ludicrously dumb movie.
“Those trained by Madame Rose have the same kind of method.”
“This time it’s slightly different.”
I’ve not actually seen any of the Naked Killer movies. I had heard of them before watching this one – they were these Category III movies about seductresses who are super soldiers and spies – but never got a chance to see one. Naked Soldier, released twenty years after the first film, is the third part of the … trilogy? Maybe they’ll make another in 2022, but after seeing this one, I hope they don’t.
Sammo Hung plays Lung, an Interpol agent in 1980 who finds himself the target of crime boss Madame Rose (Ellen Chan) due to whatever reasons. Madame Rose’s army storm his house, kill his entire family, and kidnap his daughter. Lung barely lives through it, and vows to take her down. Fast forward 15 years and that daughter, now called Phoenix (Jennifer Tse) has had her mind wiped and is working for Madame Rose as part of a trio of assassins.
Enter Sam Wong (Andy On), a policeman of sorts (probably an Interpol agent. I really don’t remember and it’s only been a couple of days). He’s on the trail of Madame Rose and her assassins, but manages to fall for Phoenix, who still retains some of her humanity and mercy. Eventually Lung learns his daughter is still out there, and tries to bring her back to the side of good. Or something. Also, Sammo Hung has adopted another daughter (Jia-Qi Kang), and their little interactions are the best part of the film.
I really struggled to remember the finer points of this story. The movie feels really long and there’s no need for it to be. There are lots of action scenes, and some of them even have Sammo Hung in them! There are lots of weirdo characters, from Henry Honey Holland and his questionably-gendered fighting partner, and hell even Anthony Wong(‘s stunt double) gets a fight in. That should be fun. And yet it isn’t. Hell, Andy On – a noted martial artist – has his talents wasted by not giving him nearly enough things to kick. Naked Soldier is a film you’ll want to turn off after ten minutes and you absolutely should. It’s rubbish.
The movie weirdly struggles with its 1995 setting, giving us a world where mirrors become touch screens, and every random laptop in a library is equipped with MSN. Why they didn’t just set this in the present day is extremely confusing. Lung has video tapes of his daughter – OK, fine – but there’s no reason they couldn’t just be video files. Hell, at least a bit of data would survive his house being blown up. It might seem like a minor gripe, but writer Wong Jing’s inconsistent technology is symptomatic of just how little it seems to care about itself.
Naked Soldier’s biggest problem is that it’s just incredibly boring. There’s nothing in the movie that happens that makes you really want to stick around for any length of time, not even any sleazy Category III fun (the sex in this film is close to nonexistent). The action is dull, the acting is passable and the effects are laughable. Nothing about this movie is particularly great, except for the aforementioned relationship between Lung and his new daughter. As it is, it’s not actively horrible. It’s too forgettable for that. Instead, it just sort of exists in a limbo of “not so bad it’s worth ranting about” like Helter Skelter, and “not so bad as to make fun of it” like that ridiculous cop movie about robots. It exists, then it stops. And you promptly forget you ever saw it.
Verdict: Unquestionably dull and filled with countless lame sequences, Naked Soldier is a disappointing end to a trilogy I’ve not seen.
Overall entertainment: 4/10
Fight Choreography: 3/10
Sex: Not nearly enough
Naked Soldiers: None.
Anthony Wong: Cool cameo, I guess. Who were you again?
Naked Soldier (2012)
Also known as: 絕色武器
Director: Marco Mak
Writer: Wong Jing
Jennifer Tse – Phoenix
Sammo Hung – CK Lung
Ellen Chan – Madame Rose
Philip Ng – Black Dragon
Ankie Beilke – Selina
Andy On – Sam Wong
Jia-Qi Kang – Wai-Chu
Lena Lin – Ivy
Jiang Luxia – Tiger Wife
Ian Powers – Holland Honey
Timmy Hung – Pete
Anthony Wong – Power