Naked Avengers (HK 2006)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Lethal Angels
Review Date: 12/9/18
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Tien Hsin, Cherrie Ying, Jordan Chan, Andy On, Jewel Lee, cameo by Fung Hark On

A woman named Winnie (Jewel Lee) is beaten and disfigured by her Triad boss lover, and suffers a miscarriage from her injuries. Seven years later, with a new face and vengeance in her heart, she trains a group of young women to be assassins and uses them in her personal vendetta. The story primarily focuses on Yo Yo (Tien Hsin), who was rescued by Winnie five years ago and is tasked with infiltrating the enemy's household and stealing evidence from a hidden safe. She had a college romance with a boy named Jet (Andy On) who is now a police detective, and things get complicated when their paths unexpectedly cross. Yo Yo's sentimentality gets the best of her, which jeopardizes her mission and puts her friends' lives in danger. Will she choose love and justice over loyalty and revenge?

Another disappointing iteration of the "Naked Killer" (1992) formula that suffers from weak action, lackluster cinematography, uninspired acting, and overwrought romance. Contrary to the film's title, there's no nakedness involved, unless you count a scene where Andy On takes off his shirt. The film looks drab and muddy, and the colors vary dramatically between shots. While some of this could be attributed to a bad transfer, the inconsistency suggests that it's also in the source material. Tien Hsin and Cherrie Ying are very attractive and fun to watch, which is the film's main draw. Tien Hsin's movements are fluid and graceful, but her fight scenes are over-edited and unconvincing. Jewel Lee's action scenes fare a bit better, but they're still underwhelming. In the film's most ridiculous scene, Yo Yo is sneaking around in the enemy's kitchen wearing a sexy little black dress, sunglasses, and thigh-high boots with 5-inch heels. It's the perfect stealth outfit. Granted, she looked amazing, but the absurdity of it all ruined the intent and impact of the situation. The sappy love story between Jet and Yo Yo is gag-worthy, and the overly drawn out happy ending negates any excitement or dramatic tension the film may have generated. Overall, it's an innocuous and marginally entertaining female action outing, but a pale imitation of what Hong Kong cinema used to offer.