Clarence Fok delivers on nudity and killers in Naked Killer, though not in the quantities one might have hoped.
“Don’t fall in love with men, otherwise you will be the loser.”
In Hong Kong cinema, films are rated as one of five categories: I, IIa, IIb, IIc or III, with each number representing an increase in content maturity, not unlike the PG and age-based system here. Category III, originally a term used to denote something like an R-rating, developed something of a seedier meaning, and referring to a film as a “Category III movie” insinuated a level of schlock, violence, sex or general sleaziness you wouldn’t find anywhere else. In the 90s, the market for softcore erotica, exploitation and gore got so big that Category III was almost a genre in and of itself (and still can be found as such in video stores). Released in 1992, Clarence Fok’s iconic Naked Killer still remains a cult classic and a solid entry point to the genre.
Naked Killer has two protagonists: Kitty (Chingmy Yau), a hotheaded young woman with no qualms about stabbing bad men in the dick, and Tinam (Simon Yam), a detective who’s currently investigating a bunch of murders and dick stabbings. After her father discovers his new wife is cheating on him with finance guy Bee (Ken Lo), a fight occurs and Bee pushes him down the stairs, killing him. Kitty swears revenge and shoots up his office, holding a woman hostage. It’s revealed that woman is an assassin named Sister Cindy (Wai Yiu) who was planning on killing Bee herself. She takes Kitty under her wing, and trains her in assassination.
Meanwhile, Tinam finds himself embroiled in Kitty’s life after she stabs a guy in the dick at a hair salon and the pair start a very tumultuous relationship. The story from here – in fact, from the very beginning – goes pretty much the way you expect it to, but Naked Killer is a film that relishes in its own tropeiness. It’s an erotic action thriller and never tries to be anything that it knows it can’t be (after all, it was written by Wong Jing so it’s a miracle it’s even this cohesive in the first place).
As expected, the film is loaded throughout with out-there fights, all of which are edited in the choppiest way possible. One of the best action scenes happens right at the start, when a guy is killed by two dumbbells slamming into the sides of his head. It’s the most comically bloody part of the movie, which does feel a bit anticlimactic, but the rest of the action – while not as over the top – is still right at home in this kind of movie.
In fact, the more I think about it, the same can be said for the sex. Despite its classification as an erotic thriller, Naked Killer doesn’t have a tonne of nudity, or particularly steamy scenes. A couple of evil lesbian assassins provide the majority of the sexiness but much like the violence that doesn’t feel like enough exploitative nonsense considering what you came in for. Still, I wouldn’t call any of it tame – far from it, it’s still unhinged from start to finish – just a bit milder to what I was expecting from this kind of iconic schlock.
Nevertheless, it’s still a whole lot of a fun and you can tell the cast was enjoying themselves making this too. There isn’t a single piece of scenery left unchewed, especially when Simon Yam is pretending to vomit at the mere mention of a gun. Chingmy Yau comes into every scene with a manic energy that, along with the comic book feel of the whole thing, carries a lot of the movie. Come for the assassin tits, stay for the man eating what he thinks is a sausage but is actually a severed penis. Now that’s Category III.
Verdict: Not quite as out-there as other films of its kind, Naked Killer nevertheless defined what Category III meant, paving the way for tonnes of copycats (and two awful sequels).
Overall entertainment: 5.5/10
Sex: Surprisingly subdued 5/10
Iconic status: 8/10
Rapists: Basically mindless zombies right?
Cantonese dubbing: 1/10
Insults: Kitty loves to burst tits, whatever that means.
Milk: Nullifies poison, duh
Tinam: Quit asking Vivian if she’s Kitty
Naked Killer (1992)
Also known as: 赤裸羔羊
Director: Clarence Fok
Writer: Wong Jing
Chingmy Yau – Kitty/Vivian Shang
Simon Yam – Tinam
Wai Yiu – Sister Cindy
Carrie Ng – Princess
Madoka Sugawara – Baby