Naked Killer 2 (AKA – Raped by an Angel, Super Rape & Legal Rape): A skilled lawyer tries to commit the ‘perfect rape’ by exploiting legal loopholes, planting / fabricating evidence etc. First off, this has nothing other than the ‘Naked Killer’ title tying it to the first movie; think less ‘Naked Killer sequel’ and more ‘Original Raped By An Angel’ film. To re-iterate for emphasis – this is nothing like the first film. Secondly: where ‘Naked Killer’ had a campy, tongue-in-cheek, bawdy, exploitation, cult feel – this one relies on nothing more than cheap in-yer-face shocks, mostly through talking about taboo subjects like rape, aids and blowjob techniques. Thirdly: over 11 minutes of cuts were made on the UK DVD release, so it’s like a CATIII film, but with zero CATII content! The script, editing, acting cuts, and subtitles made for confusing and frustrating viewing – it’s hard to tell what’s happening at the 45 minute mark, let alone where it’s going. This is the ultimate blot on everyone involved’s resumés – and one which I’m sure many will have tried to bury. All in all, Naked Killer 2 / Raped by an Angel is simply a shit film, with everything remotely 18 rated cut out of the UK DVD, and nothing more than a name in connection to the first ‘Naked Killer’ film. Avoid at all costs.
Note: uploading several DVD screenshots as there’s none online, anywhere at the moment.
Naked Killer (赤裸羔羊): a cop that vomits every time he picks up a gun has to catch a killer that targets men, and stabs / chops off their meat & two veg… Really .The film does nothing to hide its terrible editing, camerawork and flaky acting – feels like a Troma/no-budget movie. The ‘plot’ is impossibly ridiculous and the script / translations are just mental – “why are you pointing your pink pistol at me” & “I’ll squeeze your tits ’til they burst” being just a couple of choice lines. There’s unprecedented levels of flirty lesbian conversations and boob rubbing – definitely a film made exclusively for teenage boys. On the upside: the girls are pretty, and hidden amongst everything else, there are some good fight-scenes (although poorly put together)- that’s… about… it. Naked Killer boils to being a standard assassin/thriller story with as much camp, random, slapstick, bawdy, ridiculous, male-fantasy moments the runtime would allow to throw at it – all very Asian and very 90s. Perhaps it’s the UK version, but the film feels so random and disjointed that it has to be heavily cut – either that or it IS just awful. Despite having properly set expectations for a Category III film called “Naked Killer” this was plain disappointing, although, If you have a ‘thing’ for lesbian Asian assassins, then this is definitely one for you.
IP Man (AKA Yip Man) [Blu Ray]: partial-biogaphy of grandmaster martial artist Yip Man, as he fights to protect his town through the Japanese invasion of 1937. This is a jaw-dropping homage to the old martial arts films; choreography, subtle wire work, sound effects and filming of the action. This all peaks during a 1-on-10 fight indoors, which is action-tastic, bone-snappingly brutal and phenomenal to watch. Storywise, the film starts off amazingly with random schools of martial artist groups challenging each other to fights, but as soon as the war / Chinese history kicks in it slows the film down to a crawl. Annoyingly, there’s random leaps forward in time about every ten minutes; is it a week, month or year… we don’t know. Outdoors the BD picture great, but inside it’s very grainy – and the entire second half (invasion) looks depressingly washed-out and devoid of any colour. Films that handle the Sino–Japanese war have a tough job, and IP man succeeded nationally (although falls down internationally) in doing this; because it’s over-sentimental – but you can’t hold that against such a nationally proud, historical piece. Overall, IP Man starts with a massive bang, but the entire second half becomes a bit of a struggle, although the great action will keep you in your seat.
Vengeance / 復仇 [Blu Ray]: a French chef travels to Hong Kong to avenge a brutal attack on his daughter and her family. Having a mish-mash of French, English and Cantonese dialogue this clearly has international aspirations. As you’d expect from Johnnie To it’s a very well-directed film; in particular he gets the most out of his cast, even from the lead character – aging rocker (now botox-faced) Johnny Hallyday (!WTF!) – although Anthony Wong’s the real star as usual. To also wrings a lot of tension from many of the buildup and action scenes – although there is one nighttime shootout that’s a total mess, and several times when it changes from night to day (and vice versa) in 2 seconds flat. So it’s all good, until the film starts dragging on a bit, throwing up some strange plot twists (Memento anyone?) and generally falling into the ‘Asian Gangster’ pitfalls – many stylishly dressed gangster factions are all entangled with one another and disputes can only be settled through gun-centric confrontations – the only difference is the European actors, who seem a bit crowbarred in for international effect. As a Blu Ray, the picture’s OK and the sound is impressive enough (thunderous gunshots). Despite the big names and big story, for a person that’s seen scores of Asian gang movies, this has already faded in to the big pot of genre films.
Fulltime Killer: A couple of hitmen, ‘O’ and ‘Tok’, become intertwined in a battle to prove who is the best in Asia. Turns in to a bit of a ‘two hitmen and a cleaner’ story, and while the lady was central to the story, the film would have been much more exciting and faster-paced without all of the terrible characterisation scenes she facilitated. The narrator changes between the 2 killers for the most part, then a random crazy policeman towards the end – bizarre. There’s some very cool action & shootouts and it’s visually sumptuous in parts, although nothing’s really that memorable. Andy Lau’s the standout as the cocksure shoot-form-the-hip dangerman. While this film’s decent enough it never really takes off of goes into top gear, even with its Metal Slug inspired ending. For those that enjoy style over substance, this one’s ideal.
Bullet in the Head: Three best friends get caught up in the Vietnam war trying to make a quick buck. When a film starts off this camp and choppy, you know you’re in for a rough ride. There’s lots of slow motion (it’s John Woo), namely people jumping away from massive explosions and/or leaping to the ground after being shot. There’s also a ton of blood and violence, with continual bloodbath shootouts between, the CIA, Vientamese, Viet Cong, Chinese, Mercenaries and anyone else with a gun. What’s most memorable about this film is that there’s absolutely no glorification of war, and what normal people are capable of when pushed into a corner (except the slow-mo!). Some scenes will stick with you for a long time after. Contracting the brutality of war is the films overall feel and style; almost every element is overpoetic, oversentimental, and has dangerous levels of overtheatrical – laugh-out-loud – overacting. It should also be tried for crimes against editing, music and scripts. Another pet hate crops up: relaxed bonding in the middle of a hostage situation / shootout?!?! All the minus points are schoolboy, which is the biggest tragedy as the centre of the film was a memorable, powerful and moving story.