You could not really accuse Chinese film director Jin Wong of having a spotless reputation. In fact, earlier movies like High Risk and The Duel left audiences mostly cold and failed to deliver on their promise of all out action and suspense. So, where do 2002 offering Naked Weapon stand; is it as lackluster and predictable or has Wong managed to put together a half decent thriller this time?
Well, suffice to say, Naked Weapon has come as a bit of a surprise to most. Whilst it is certainly not a cinematic masterpiece, nor does it reinvent the wheel, it nevertheless manages to be a thoroughly entertaining romp. The plot itself is a little bit farcical, but it has echoes of old school Charlie’s Angels, which is rarely a bad thing. It centers on a group of young girls who are abducted and forced to train as international assassins.
Assassins and Part Time Supermodels
They find myself working for the ferocious Madame M and this is the cue for a remarkable amount of sexy slo-mo sequences and shots of female assassins
pulling incredible moves, but never putting a well coiffured hair out of place. As soon as you understand that this is a pretty good metaphor for Naked Weapon, however, you should be in good hands. It is silly, it is brash, and it might just have you laughing at the wrong moments.
This is not to say that it is a terrible film or one which offers no value – you should just be aware when you start watching that its value is fleeting. There is nothing wrong with this; films like Crank and the Transporter (in fact, anything with Jason Statham) have been built entirely on this formula and they are great choices for a frivolous movie night. Just know that Naked Weapon is unashamedly half Playboy Wet and Wild footage and half balls to the wall thriller.
A Little Bit of Mindless Violence
The movie begins with rookie CIA agent (played by Daniel Wu) on assignment in Europe. It quickly becomes clear that he is monitoring one of Madam M’s assassins, in an attempt to locate the fiendish matriarch herself. One again, all of her assassins are so beautiful to look at that it hurts and they spend all of their screen time proving that sex definitely can be used as an effective weapon.
At some point, the mission falls to pieces and Jack is left alone. We are then introduced to two new assassins in training; a spoiled teenage socialist kidnapped by Madame M and a tough as nails thirteen year old who sees the killer training camp as her ticket off the streets. The girls form an unlikely friendship and we see their bond blossom (unsurprisingly, there are more than a few heavy handed hints of ‘something more’) in the later scenes.
Throwing Caution to the Wind
The rest of the film is an entertaining, albeit nonsensical, blood soaked romp through a variety of nameless foes. As former rich girl Charlene, Maggie Q stomps around looking like an off duty supermodel having the most intense day of her life. There is an eventual return from Daniel Wu, as Jack, but his story arc never really develops in the way that you expect it to. In fact, Naked Weapon tends to keep its focus firmly on the ladies and the tried and tested triumvirate of boobs, blood, and bad language.
Despite its many inconsistencies, Naked Weapon has an undeniable joy and a boundless sense of energy. The extreme wire work, though way over the top, is technically astounding and the musical score is as frenetic and pacey as you might expect from a film like this. In short, if you are looking for something which does not strain the brain or tax your grey matter, Naked Weapon might just be the perfect choice.