Naked Killer (1992)

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 01/04/2011

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 02/05/2010

"The Naked Killer" resembles the kind of violent, uninspired, pseudo-stylized erotica that plays after sundown on premium channels because that's what it is and probably all it would have ever been had this Hong Kong dud not resonated with Western audiences to the point it transcended into a cult classic overseas and gradually achieved a puzzling required viewing status.

God help us all, dumpster divers Clarence Ford and Wong Jing have collaborated to bring you what only the kids will describe as lesbian assassin cinema at its finest.

And you're likely to have a blast the first time around with the film's sexy marketing, cheesy technique, poorly translated subtitles, and a handful of sequences involving sexpots Chingmy Yau and Carrie Ng graphically punishing sexual predators for their sins.

But that's just it: "The Naked Killer" is a one-time courtesy to the male ID that falls away with each subsequent viewing if not completely collapses the second time around the block when cheap thrills really begin to feel more like cheap tricks.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/28/2007
Summary: Must See

A must-see for any HK movie fan. On seeing it again, five years after the first time, I'd forgotten just how stylish and well-made it is. And how outrageously funny as well. And, the first time, I'd missed the numerous references to Hitchcock's "Vertigo". Wong Jing at his brilliant best. See it .... and die !

BEWARE : There are two different edits of this film. The STAR-TV version of 1995 runs more than ten minutes shorter than the cinema release. All the sex scenes and most of the nudity are removed (tsk tsk), as is some of the more gruesome dialogue about penis removal and (this left me flabbergasted) a different ending is inserted. I won't spoil it, but the difference is similar to that between the initial release and the director's cut of Blade Runner.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/12/2006

There are a lot of reasons to like “Naked Killer” not least the mind-boggling appearance Chingmy Yau. Having watched this movie again, several years after seeing the first time, I can now trace my extreme interest in Chingmy Yau—she is costumed, made up, lit and shot to take full advantage of her already very striking good looks. The flame of the affair between her and Wong Jing must have burned its hottest during the making of “Naked Killer”—while he wasn’t the director here, no one has ever made an actress look better on film.

But this is just the beginning of why this is such a worthwhile, if trashy, movie. The storytelling is straightforward and unencumbered by subplots and extraneous characters that are common in melodramatic Hong Kong crime dramas. While there is the requisite and, in this case, delightfully degenerate, comic relief—how could there be a movie about dueling gangs of Lesbian killers for hire without a few laughs—it is actually funny. And the omnipresent Wong Jing trope of vomiting is made part of the plot.

Director Clarence Ford and his cinematographers use quite a few hackneyed camera tricks—low angle shots, high angle shots, tilting the film plane, shooting up or down stairs, even shooting through middle of a spiral staircase—to excellent effect. They are not only effective in themselves, for example making a two person chase scene more visually interesting, but also serve to show the disorientation of the characters, especially Simon Yam’s Tinam. In a continuing reaction to accidentally shooting his brother to death during a chase, Tinam vomits whenever he pulls his gun and gets dizzy when chasing a suspect. Some of the shots also show off Chingmy Yau, such as the one shot from the bottom of a stairway. She is midway up the stairs, looking at the camera and wearing very brief, very tight red hotpants. The shot fairly screams: “Yes her legs are really this long and look this good”.

A movie like this is almost actor proof—attractive people acting outrageously and filmed to show them at their best doesn’t require much acting. Unfortunately it also means that the range of expression necessary is limited—any performance more than adequate would stand out like a hooker at a convention of nuns. So everything is completely on the surface. There is no point in looking for any deeper meanings since it is all unspooling on the screen. There may be something here about the role of women, especially gay women, in Chinese society as the last century drew to a close but the images of Chingmy Yau and Yiu Wai talking about masturbation while lying on a an oddly shaped couch (shot from above) or the gorgeous Carrie Ng fondling Madoka Sugawara may be more lasting than any subtext.

Most of the action scenes were (obviously) doubled fights or standard issue gun fu. An outstanding moment came during a battle in a multi-storied parking garage. Kitty and Cindy are being pursued by several score of triad gunmen. Between them they had already killed the triad chieftain who had killed Kitty’s father and had also dispatched roomfuls of his armed underlings—this is one of the movies with an unending and ever increasing supply of tough guys with guns so no matter how many are shot there are always plenty of others. Ignoring the fact that the bodycount was already approaching triple figures, the loyal criminal subordinates chased the deadly damsels who tried to escape in Cindy’s car. They hadn’t counted on her exploding hat—the millinery designer should have won an award, all the hats were gorgeous but only this one was deadly—or her ability with a knife attached to a line. In one case she impaled a bad guy with the knife and pulled him out of the car he was in and into the path of an oncoming vehicle by simply tugging on the line. Another very effective part of this battle was when Cindy leapt into the air and smashed feet first through the windshield of an approaching car, killing the driver. Earlier the redoubtable assassin had killed a target by crushing his head between two dumbbells as she swung from her knees on a chinning bar.

It was obvious that Cindy was at the top of the Lesbian assassin world, but there will always be someone younger, fitter and possibly even deadlier on her way up. This was Princess whose techniques borrowed from the old Allied Chemical slogan “better living through chemistry”. Princess was as smug and self-assured as any villain, female or male, onscreen and deserved a flashier or at least more emphatic death.

Much was borrowed from “Basic Instinct”, especially the infatuation of the cop with the gorgeous suspect he is investigating. There is also her huge house on the water, her sunbathing nude when Tinam and his partner show up and the maid who brings her a wrap. A scene that might have been shortened was when Kitty, after talking to the cops briefly, goes into her bedroom to change to accompany them to headquarters. There is a very abrupt cut here—in “Basic Instinct”, in essentially the same scene, we see Catherine Trammel as seen by Nick Curran, slide a dress over her naked body. This also, of course, sets up the notorious and much parodied shot of Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs while half the police force watched, a scene that isn’t in “Naked Killer”.

One place where the comparison breaks down completely is when Catherine Trammel is told that smoking is prohibited in police headquarters—that particular public health initiative hadn’t taken hold in the Crown Colony in 1992.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/01/2005

A mysterious rash of assassinations is plaguing Hong Kong. Simon Yam plays a shell-shocked cop investigating the cases, which are marked by their extreme brutality (you know, fun stuff like missing genitalia). At the same time, a young woman (Yau) is "adopted" by an old assassin after Yau attempts to get revenge for her father's death. The assassin begins teaching Yau the tricks of the trade and she becomes quite a good worker, rivaling the "real" killer (Ng) in her viciousness. Yam eventually begins piecing the puzzle together, only to fall in love with Yau. This spells trouble for the both of them, since Ng is still on the loose and quite pissed off.

If you're looking for an action/exploitation movie, it doesn't get much better than Naked Killer. The movie doesn't pull any punches when it comes to sexuality and violence, dealing out heaping doses of both. While there is nothing "great" about the film, it does represent something that would never be attempted in America, and perhaps that's why it has such a rabid cult following. Naked Killer's only true fault (at least in terms of the genre) is that it seems very phony when it tries to portray itself as a romantic movie. These sequences slow down the film and point out its' inadequacies (lackluster action, slow camera work, average acting, etc.).

However, when Naked Killer is "on," it's quite simply one of the best exploitation films ever made, chock full of beautiful women and insane violence. This is a prime example of what a good Category III movie should be. It pushes the limits without becoming overly distasteful or disgusting. Don't get me wrong -- it's not a family film at all. Some people may even become put off by the lengths at which Naked Killer will go to get a reaction from the audience, which include a sequence where a severed penis gets mistaken for a hot dog. But it's definitely worth checking out, if for nothing else than to see the lovely Chingmy Yau briefly nude.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 06/18/2005
Summary: Wong Jing sex and violence

Simon Yam and Chingmy Yau square off in this incredibly violent and sexy thriller about a femme fatale let loose on an unsuspecting Hong Kong male population. Kitty (Chingmy Yau) is part of an immigrant family in Hong Kong that has come from the mainland. When her father catches her step-mother in bed with another man and is killed, she decides to take matters in her own hands to take revenge. After a failed attempt, she is recruited by Sister Cindy (Kelly Yao), who trains young girls to be expert hitwomen. After being taught the art of assassination and murder, Kitty becomes quite prolific and comes under the scrutiny of the police. One of the officers, Tinam (Simon Yam), dated Kitty before her transformation into an assassin, but he can't be sure if she is the same girl. Unfortunately, Tinam and Kitty have become reluctant lovers, which leads him to be the target of one of Sister Cindy's other proteges, Princess (Carrie Ng). Princess (a lesbian) has fallen in lust with Kitty and decides that if she can't have her, she will at least kill everyone important to her. This leads to the ultimate confrontation with Princess and her sidekick Baby (Sugawara Madoka) battling it out with Kitty and Tinam.

An ultra-slick film, Naked Killer is a fast, glossy and very over-the-top in it's violence and style. Fok Yiu-leung uses tilted camera angles and very sharp colors, much like MTV's somewhat tiring style these days. Although an interesting plot, it borrows rather obviously from Basic Instinct with its "cop in love with a killer" scenario. Definitely not a film for the squeamish, the violence is incredibly brutal, from men getting stabbed repeatedly in the crotch to graphic rape scenes. Naked Killer also throws in some very erotic sex scenes between its leads, including a pretty intense lesbian scene between Carrie Ng and Sugawara Madoka that rivals anything Hollywood has allowed on the screen. A decent movie overall, Naked Killer should probably be viewed only for it's filming style and the trademark Hong Kong violence.


Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/08/2002

I can't decide whether to call Naked Killer "silly" or "stupid". "Silly" seems a little too kind, implying a certain deliberateness that I don't feel was there... but "stupid" seems a bit harsh since I did enjoy watching it. The plot is Wong Jing at his finest, probably written on the back of an envelope when drunk (and horny). Chingmy Yau's dad is killed by her stepmother's lover, so she goes on a bullet-flying revenge kick. She's rescued from the shootout by an older woman, who decides Chingmy would make a great female assassin. The plot is kept moving by poor confused cop Simon Yam and deliciously evil lesbian hitwoman Carrie Ng.

OK, it's definitely "stupid", I admit. Devoid of all subtlety and almost all sense, casual rape humour and bigoted concepts of homosexuality - all the things that Wong Jing is famous for are in abundant display here. This is coupled with the fact that Chingmy as Sharon Stone/Nikita fails to act at all convincingly, and even the normally enjoyable Simon Yam is pretty lousy in this particular role. And the few action scenes are terribly edited, to try and minimise the glaring obviousness of the stunt doubles being used for the girls...

... so much about the movie is wrong wrong wrong, and yet it remains enjoyable. Partly because it is so stupid. Partly because Carrie Ng is wonderful as Princess, but mostly just due to the art direction & cinematography I think. The sets and costumes are all very colourful and unusual, and the lighting decidedly dream-like, as is the camera work. It creates a very decadent mood for the movie, in which all this stupidity and exploitation is allowed to flourish.

The movie definitely doesn't deserve the 'classic' reputation it has, but it does have quite a few unique and interesting ideas and a very stylish look. It's not Clarence Fok's best movie, but nor is it Wong Jing's worst.

The new DVD from Hong Kong Legends is excellent as always. I thought I'd seen the uncut version of the movie before, but there seemed to be a little more sex & violence than I remembered, so maybe not. I'm fairly sure this version is the uncut version. Not that there's anything too explicit on display still, but it takes things a little further than the average thriller in cheap thrills at least. Picture quality on the DVD is excellent, and sound mix is ok. There's a whole bunch of extras - interviews with cast & crew, commentary from Clarence Fok and an essay on Chingmy Yau. I haven't looked at them though, so I can't offer an opinion as to how worthy people might find them

Not an essential purchase, but not one to avoid either.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/07/2002
Summary: CRAP

Well, it's Wong Jing isn't it. Another bogus movie about nothing.

I have absolutly no idea why some people go on about it like it is a classic of some sort. I think those people have probably only seen a handful of HK movies though, that is the only think I can think of.

I did re-sit this one as I only ever saw it once when it came out in the UK back in '93, but really wished I didn't bother seeing it again, as I had forgotten just how bad it was.

Rating: 1/5

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/06/2002

Reading the reviews on the DB completely mislead me as to how the film was supposed to look like. Before watching, I had in mind that Chingmy Yau was basically a slut simply wandering around and getting raped & killing others, or something of the sort. However, Naked Killer is much deeper than just raping and killing, and I was quite surprised to find that Chingmy Yau's character, the infamous Kitty, started out rather innocently. It was not until a murder in the family that she undergoes the change. Despite the beautiful custom, intense suspense, excellent score & the duper sexy outlook, this really is just an average trashy film. Some people claim this to be a classic, but there's no classic element at all. Some people are just making way big of a deal out of this movie. Nevertheless, it's seductively trashy, which is typical of the work Wong Jing and his immitators creates, and even quite authentic to the filmmaking of the early 90s.


Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 07/04/2001

Overrated movie. A step above soft porn.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/29/2001
Summary: Ok-ish

This movie is OVER HYPED!! I can't see whats so good about it!! The action scenes are done quite well and their is eroticism but sex scenes are short and crappy. I know there are at least 2 versions of this, but the ne with extra scenes didn't mke the movie any better!!


Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 05/29/2001
Summary: It's ok - not that great.

It had a few moments, but outside of a bit of decent comedy and some decent action - it was just a porno. Perhaps I'm being naive in expecting anything else due to the title and the box art. I don't know - maybe I'm missing something... Don't buy this sight unseen, Naked Killer is one to rent first for sure.

Seen on: DVD -
Rating: Movie - 5.1/10

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: s****
Date: 05/16/2001
Summary: absolute classic

One of the greatest trashy films ever made, NAKED KILLER is easily one of my favorite films. Chingmy Yau stars as Kitty, a girl who gets caught up in an organization of hypersensual female professional killers, who frequently seduce and then castrate their victims as symbolic revenge against the patriarchal society that has marginalized them as sex objects. I'm less than half-kidding. Meanwhile, Simon Yam (in his best protagonist role to date) is Tian (sometimes Tiam or other things, depending on your version's subtitles), the homicide detective obsessed with solving the similarly-themed murders. Tian and Kitty meet and gradually fall in love. Meanwhile, Kitty's organization is being destroyed from within by two power-hungry lesbian killers.

Perhaps needless to say, no plot summary can do this film justice. This is quite simply one of the most entertaining films ever made, with compelling, amusing characters, wonderful performances and insanely innovative action sequences. Every shot in this film is perfectly composed. You could not ask for a better time at the movies than this. Even more surprising than the film's excellent pacing, intelligence and overall quality are the genuine feminist themes that run throughout the film. Believe it or not, this is a Wong Jing script that would make Laura Mulvey smile.

Clarence Fok Yui Long (or Clarence Ford, I hear all kinds of different names for this guy) deserves a great deal of credit for his direction. Though NAKED KILLER is a violent, soft core exercise, it is also a brilliant one that will most likely be remembered as a true cinematic masterpiece. The film actually takes time to make the relationship between Tian and Kitty into something the viewer cares about and is involved in, unlike every other "doomed romance" Hong Kong movie of the week. Basically, if you haven't seen NAKED KILLER, you're really missing out.

A note, however: This film exists in all sorts of cut versions, all of which are category III. Recently, Megastar (I think) put out a good-looking, fully uncut DVD, with removable subtitles and all that good stuff. Track that down if you can. Most of the cut versions trim the violence slightly and severely cut a few sex scenes.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A cop falls in love with a woman who joins a team of female "hitwomen" who specialize in killing men by breaking all their limbs and castrating them. Good action. One really sick comedy scene where someone thinks he's eating a sausage at a murder scene, but it's actually, shall we say, evidence.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Gorgeous Kitty (Chingmy Yau) wanders the streets of HK in skimpy leather-and-latex outfits, luring rapists where she can shoot and depenilate them before a painful death. But after killing a triad goon, an army of his minions go in chase. She meets Sister Cindy (Svenwara Madoka) in a staircase, a 40ish Japanese man-hater hope lessly over dressed in lipstick red, who helps take on the gang with crack shooting, a cool kung fu garrote, and a hat with an Oddjob blade in it that matches her dress. Cop Simon Yam falls for Kitty, but suspects that his future girlfriend is at least partly responsible for the recent rash of sex crimes. Little does he know that lesbian lovers Princess (Carrie Ng) and her assistant Baby are assigned to kill Kitty and Cindy for some reason I missed (probably to keep the plot going). It even has those fabled HK subtitles you have to translate into real English as you watch.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 8