Movies You've Never Seen (and likely never will) Pt.2

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 | 11:20 pm

Naked Weapon (Chiklo Dakgung) — 2003
¤½ stars — half for the cinematographer, half for the opening scene, and half for the girls involved, more out of sympathy than anything.

[Marit Thoreson]

Even for a Hong Kong action flick, it's not a title that would normally drag you in, but the opening scene certainly did when it popped up on digital cable recently. The delectable Marit Thoresen vamps it up in the traditional assassin-as-hooker role, kicks gangster butt (including a great soccer-move with a shotgun) La Femme Nikita style, and then calmly strides away into her waiting white Porsche.

And then she's dead. Some random gangster with a rocket-launcher (!) on a hotel balcony just turns up and blows her away, and then she is finished off by an icy Asian lady in a limo, who at least has something to do with the rest of the script. We now know that we are in action–without–plot land.

And it's all downhill from there. Seems the ice-cool Asian lady is abducting bunches of talented twelve year old girls in order to take them to an assassin-training-camp-island(tm) and turn them into sexy killing machines. A few try to act (unsuccesfully), try to escape, and predictably get killed (for escaping, not for their acting I presume). At this stage, you're not really sure who to barrack for (certainly not the dialog coach): Marit is dead, as are 2 of the 3 cops you got introduced to in the opening scene. The other cop, Agent Jack Chan has a hunch about all these missing girls, more later. At this stage I was hoping for a tender introspection about the friendship between the imprisoned girls, and a rousing story that follows their charge to freedom a-la a teenage The Great Escape perhaps! Not so much.

Subtitles quickly inform me that it's 6 years later, and the girls are all tall leggy sex-goddesses still running up and down the same beach (guards seem about the same though). They jog like runway models, not assassins, and luckily for them it seems the barracks include tanning beds, and copious amounts of hair and makeup gear, as they rarely look anything less than their best. In a few long-shot martial-arts training scenes, they kick and punch like models also. The convincing fight scenes come with the main Asian actresses in close-up fast cuts, who are talented fighter-gymnnasts in the HK style. These scenes are well done and effectively edited. The girls are put through a handful of pointless life-or-death tests against top militray special ops forces, all of which are succesfully overcome (except the question of how twenty hardened killers can't maime their guards and escape).

Like a louge driven by a blind man, the downhill slide accelerates to breakneck speed from here. The ruthless madam, who has spent 6 years training, feeding, and clothing them, decides that as a final test the girls should all have to kill each other until one is left, using a ridiculously lopsided seeding method. Our two 'heroines' benefit when the assassin-madam breaks her own rules to let three of the girls live. She congratulates them and treats them to a lavish final dinner before sending them off into the world to kill for her. We learn the girls are well educated because they can tell any make and year of a glass of wine from one sip, but unfortunately their refined palates could not detect the drug in the wine (just like their agent couldn't detect a stinker movie) At this point, the scriptwriter must have given up and gone home as a few nameless sneering guards come in and rape the girls. Easily the most heavy-handed attempt to generate sympathy I've seen in a movie, even from a director this pointlessly misogynistic. It kind of worked for me though: I truly did feel sorry for these girls, and that they'd ever had the misfortune to audition.

You also wish the same for the cinematographer, because the movie does look very slick and luridly coloured, well beyond the skill of the plot and director to do any justice.

I lost interest after that... there was some big fight scene during an assassination attempt (yep, the girls still decided it was a good idea to work for the madam). It's about here the surviving cop from scene 1 gets a cameo as the nasty assassin girl tries to kill the good assassin's mother, as he has been chasing the missing girls with a hunch for the past 6-10 years. What a boss he must have! I know I was watching this movie so that you don't have to, but I let the side down about here and have no idea how it ended.

To add insult to injury, I checked IMDB once I had regained consciousness, only to find out that Marit Thoresen hasn't made any more movies. Bugger. I did find out that this is apparently a sorry ripoff of a better HK film with an equally silly title, Naked Killer. After this though, it's pedigree may never be tested.

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