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Naked Soldier

Naked Soldier

Ankie Beilke and Jennifer Tse face off in Naked Soldier.

Chinese: 絕色武器
Year: 2012  
Director: Marco Mak Chi-Sin
Producer: Wong Jing, Angela Wong
Writer: Wong Jing
Action: Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Tak
Cast: Jennifer Tse Ting-Ting, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Andy On Chi-Kit, Ankie Beilke, Ellen Chan Ar-Lun, Philip Ng Won-Lung, Lena Lin, Kang Jiaqi, Timmy Hung Tin-Ming, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Jiang Lu-Xia, Ian Powers, Xue Hongmin, Alain "The Panther" Ngalani, Tang Weicheng, Amy Lu, Xin Jingzhu
The Skinny: China-approved update of the Naked Killer formula, meaning little of the erotic or edgy content that once wowed exploitation fans worldwide. Still, thanks to some decent action and some fun over-the-top performances, Naked Soldier earns its B-minus cinema wings. Predictable crap that entertains for what it is.
 
Review
by Kozo:

They’ll likely never be as good as they used to be and we’ll just have to get over it. Naked Soldier revives Wong Jing’s exploitative “Naked” formula, removes the edgier content and dresses it up with newer actors, some older ones and also a few fun surprises. Like Naked Killer and Naked Weapon, this Marco Mak-directed action-comedy-thriller concerns young women trained to become assassins. In 1980, top Interpol cop Lung Chi-Keung (Sammo Hung) repossesses a bunch of goods belonging to the nefarious Brother Power (Anthony Wong), so Bro Power sends Madam Rose (Ellen Chen) and her murderous entourage to exact revenge by offing Lung’s family and leaving him for dead. Madam Rose also kidnaps Lung’s 5 year-old daughter, who’s brainwashed and trained, and one day becomes a beautiful killer named Phoenix (Jennifer “Sister of Nic” Tse). There’s your “soldier” part of the title, though the “naked” part never comes to fruition. Wong Jing and required China distribution apologize.

Fast-forward to 1995, and Madam Rose’s femme fatale squad, also including Selina (Ankie Beilke) and Ivy (Lena Lin), carries out a global rubout of high-ranking international druglords. Madam Rose’s antics land her on Interpol’s radar, meaning the recently-rehired Lung, plus partners Sam (Andy “Boyfriend of Jennifer Tse” On) and Pete (Timmy “Son of Sammo” Hung), are put on the case. Evidence left at one assassination turns up DNA belonging to Lung’s long-lost daughter, doubling Lung’s interest. The clock is ticking, though. Since Phoenix showed mercy in her killings, she’s marked by Madam Rose as a possible liability and given an assignment to kill Lung. Will Phoenix obey Madam Rose and unknowingly off her own father? Will Sam, smitten with Phoenix’s civilian identity Macy, figure out that his crush is the enemy? Will Phoenix’s colleague and admirer Dragon (Philip Ng) help her or Madame Rose? And will Anthony Wong, Jiang Luxia and Ian Powers steal Naked Soldier from every other actor in the film?

About that last question, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Anthony Wong’s Brother Power vies with Madam Rose for criminal power while behaving ridiculously comic and unleashing convincing martial arts skills. Ian Powers and Jiang Luxia are Honey and Tiger, Brother Power’s enforcers and a tag-team that could rival Siegfried and Roy in misguided fashion sense. Most of the baddies could double for Vegas revue rejects; excluding Phoenix, Madam Rose’s entire squad is decked to the nines in John Waters-esque outfits and even worse hair. At one point, Selina announces herself as super evil – and she does so by dressing in what could pass for Siu Yam-Yam cosplay. Honey and Tiger are borderline offensive stereotypes, but hey, this is a Wong Jing production. Offensive stuff can sometimes be forgiven in a film this trashy and dumb. The setting is 1995 but everyone has obvious 21st century tech, and English dialogue includes winners like, “I’m afraid this is going to destroy her brain cells.” This film is crap and clearly knows it.

Sealing the deal on this masterpiece of mediocrity is pretty Jennifer Tse, whose two facial expressions make her worth admiring but not watching. Tse is too inert, but the opposite is true for Kang Jiaqi, who plays Lung’s foster daughter with unchecked pouty glee. Kang is a highlight (or lowlight) of the film’s lame comedy, but she also shows fine martial arts skills in a two-on-one bout where she and Sammo Hung take on Anthony Wong. Corey Yuen handles the action and is in fine form, adding variety to the nimble fisticuffs and getting the best from his cast. Non-fighters Tse, Beilke and Lin perform the action more than adequately, with Beilke and Lin providing some of the sexiness that Tse does not. As a milder version of a trashy fan-fave genre, Naked Soldier easily makes the grade. It isn’t as over-the-top or subversive as its predecessors, but it’ll be a long time before such Hong Kong filmmaking is financially viable again. If Naked Soldier is the best we’re going to get, we should take it. (Kozo, 2012)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
16x9 Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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