Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 21st, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, November 15th, 2002
Director: Siu-Tung Ching
Writer: Jing Wong
Cast: Maggie Q, Anya, Almen Wong Pui-Ha, Daniel Wu
DVD Released: February 24th, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: Hart Sharp Video
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.99
Synopsis: Madame M (Almen Wong) after the death of best female assassin kidnaps 40 girls who are athletic and skilled in martial arts. These girls are being trained by Madame M as deadly assassins. The girls train as the years goes by and six years later they are forced to fight to the death tell there is only one girl left. During the death match with three girls left Madame M changes her mind and allows the remaining girls to survive as her trio of female assassins. Charlene (Maggie Q) and Katherine (Anya Wu) had built a strong bond between them during their captivity. Jing (Jewel Lee) the third girl is a loner who later in the film causes problems for Charlene. CIA agent Jack Chen (Daniel Wu) has been tracking Madame M for year’s always just one step behind her. He discovers a link between one of the missing girls and Madame M’s female assassins. Charlene and Katherine wanting leave the business agreeing to do one last job only to find out that they have been set up.
Action films in Asia are distinctive for their strong female leads where their American counter parts feature water downed versions of Asian heroines. Jing Wong is a prolific writer, producer, director who has made a career out of making films that push the envelope when it comes to violence and sexuality. He wrote the screenplays for classic Hong Kong films like Magnificent Butcher, Prodigal Son, Naked Killer, and City Hunter. Naked Weapons director Siu-Tung Ching best known for A Chinese Ghost Story trilogy and Duel to the Death films which are rooted in the fantasy action genre. Naked Weapon storyline like all actions films is secondary and director Siu-Tung Ching who also worked as the films action choreographer stages break taking martial arts sequences that are truly some of the better wirework choreography that I have ever seen.
The overall style of film is evident from the opening moments as Siu-Tung Ching fills every composition with beautiful images and he at times uses slow motion to emphasize the actor’s graceful movements. The strongest scene in the film is when Madame M invites the three girls to dinner only to drug them which lead to the girls being gang raped. The film lets up from every now and then for character development to let the audience breathe. Writing off Naked Weapon an average action flick would underscore just how good this film is and my only complaint about Naked Weapon is that the film doesn’t fully explore the exploitation side of the plot to the extreme like the film Naked Killer.
Naked Weapon is presented in non-anamorphic 1:85:1 widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Flesh tones are natural and the colors are vibrant through out. The contrast is solid and the black levels are good as a lot of detail can be found in this non-anamorphic transfer. Often films out of Hong Kong when released on DVD look soft. This isn’t the case with Naked Weapon despite being non-anamorphic the overall picture is sharp and in darker scenes grain is almost non-existent.
The only audio is an English dubbed audio track which for the most part is surprisingly good as the voice actors chosen sound Asian instead of British like most dub tracks. The dialog comes through clear and easy to hear. The subwoofer perfectly captures the sound effects and the score with a deep backend that has a lot of power behind it. Spanish subtitles have been included.
The main extra includes a making of featurette that is about 23 minutes in length. Rounding out the extras is the films original trailer and a photo gallery. Naked weapon has everything any action fan could want gorgeous women, a sinister plot and non-stop stylized action. It is refreshing to see women in these films on par with their male counter parts as they show women can kick ass too. Naked Weapon’s plot like most action films has a few holes; still in the end none of its flaws take away from the fact that this movie is a lot of fun.