AFTER Clarence Fok’s Naked Killer (1992) and Ching Siu-tung’s Naked Weapon (2002), which starred the then less-known Maggie Q, writer-producer Wong Jing is back with the third instalment, Naked Soldier, starring model-turned-actress Jennifer Tse.
Director Marco Mak is known for his earlier works, A Decade Of Love (2009) and Tracing Shadow (2009).
At 29, it seems that Jennifer, sister of action star Nicholas Tse (The Viral Factor, Treasure Inn), has no problem fitting into the “femme fatale” image.
The Canadian-born actress said in a recent interview that she preferred being in an action film.
She made her acting debut in Manfred Wong’s Bruce Lee, My Brother, two years ago and was seen playing Miss Yip in Classroom, part of Hong Kong Ghost Stories.
In Naked Soldier, she shows promise as a newcomer as well as a skilled martial artist. While having spent more time in the gym to deliver a realistic portrayal is highly applauded, she needs to work on her emotional scenes. Her overall performance reminds the audience of Datuk Seri Michelle Yeoh, who first caught the attention of moviegoers in her earlier action films such as Yes, Madam (1985) and Magnificent Warriors (1987).
That aside, Naked Soldier features laughably bad acting and egregious dialogue that seem like a carry-on from the previous two instalments.
However, this is no surprise as Wong also wrote and produced the movie. The writer-director is well-known for his nonsensical movies such as Kung Fu Mahjong (2005) and Men Suddenly In Love (2011).
When Interpol agent CK Long (Sammo Hung) and his team bust a million-dollar drug deal, the leader vows to take revenge on him. He then hires Madame Rose (Ellen Chan) to kill Long’s family. But during the massacre, Long’s daughter, the young Phoenix, is spared and taken by Madame Rose, who trains her to be an assassin.
Meanwhile, for 15 years, Long continues to look for Phoenix (Jennifer). A mistake during one her missions leads him to her.
Like the previous two movies, Naked Soldier features one-dimensional acting, as seen in German-born actress Ankie Beilke who plays Selina, a cold-blooded assassin and the lesser-known actors who play the movie’s bad guys. Perhaps it is one of Wong’s style, but for non-fans, this may be off-putting.
But for action movie fans, Naked Soldier is packed with enough action to keep them at the edge of their seats. The fight scenes — to their credit — look realistic.
For this, Wong only picks actors with real martial arts background to handle roles that demand such physical challenges. Lu Xia-jiang, who plays Tigress (though she only makes a short appearance at the end of the movie), does a great job when she has to fight Hung’s character.
Naked Soldier is solely for Wong’s fans. Although billed as the third instalment in the Naked series, the story is not linked to the earlier films. It has an entirely new plot though some characters from the earlier films, such as Madame Rose, makes an appearance.
NAKED SOLDIER (Cantonese)
Starring Jennifer Tse, Andy On, Sammo Hung, Philip Ng,
Duration 92 minutes