Naked Killer

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Naked Killer (1992) is classic Wong Jing; it’s funny, campy, kinky, and wholly unpredictable. Naked Killer is a Category III Hong Kong thriller that lives in the same place as heterosexual male submissive fantasies. There’s a lot in Naked Killer that those unfamiliar with Category III Hong Kong films might find disturbing. But the spectacles, though heavy on the cheesecake, are inventive enough and the story is ludicrous enough that it’s a pretty enjoyable film. Clarence Fok’s direction is the perfect foil to writer/producer Wong Jing’s zany impulses, balancing the absurd with a touch of humanity in the otherwise cartoonish characters.

Naked Killer follows Kitty (Chingmy Yau) after she is taken under Sister Cindy’s (Yiu Wai) wing following the death of her father. Sister Cindy teaches Kitty to be an assassin but it isn’t long before Kitty’s boyfriend (Simon Yam) and a rival duo of lady assassins, Princess (Carrie Ng) and Baby (Madoka Sugawara), come looking for them. It’s Wong Jing’s fusion of La Femme Nikita (1990) with Basic Instinct (1992) and the script plays up the artificiality of these somewhat familiar premises by interjecting odd details such as the signature castrations the assassins carry out on their victims as well as some finger print transplants, a penis sausage, and some dominatrix style outfits.

Yiu Wai practically steals the show with a performance that would have made Joan Crawford proud. But it’s Chingmy Yau who gives the best overall performance. Overall Chingmy Yau matches Yiu Wai tonally, but underneath is a deeper emotional pool that Clarence Fok highlights in lingering close ups. Despite Naked Killer‘s off the wall campiness Chingmy Yau brings the same sense of authenticity to her role as she does in Stanley Kwan’s classic Hold Me Tight (1999). She can transition from slapstick comedy to action star to romantic lead without her character ever becoming inconsistent or contradictory.

Usually I don’t recommend watching the English dubbed version of one of these films but in the case of Naked Killer it’s worth checking out. When an already bizarre film is dubbed with line readings that seem to come from a Gerry and Sylvia Anderson production that film instantly becomes a “must see”.