An absolutely manic display of hyperkinetic editing and visceral bloodshed, Clarence Yiu-leung Fok's Naked Killer has got to be one of the sexiest Hong Kong films ever made, a film that uses its ultra-stylized formal constructions and sumptuous spatial spaces in a way that manages to be celebratory about femininity while simultaneously an affront to the normalized misogyny which continues to plague contemporary culture. The male gaze is subverted and weaponized, utilized as a tool for this narrative about female assassins to reap vengeance on men whose purview of a woman is nothing more than an object to be taken and made malleable to their own bodily desires. The text of the film - the story of a young woman who is trained by a secret society of female assassins who effectively hunt down and kill predatory men - is relatively straightforward and pointed in its thematic commentary, yet the film subtextual still remains open to variant readings such as intrasexual competition, love/lust dynamics, homosexuality, etc. Eroticism is a major component of this film, and the sensuality of the film is palpable yet comes from a constant place of empowerment, not objectification. The love story resting at the center of this film between a police officer and this female assassin, who begins to fall for this man on an emotional level, is pointed in the sense that it inverts traditional gender roles, with her being the protector while he himself takes up the more traditional feminine role. There is an argument here that the film ultimately supports heteronormative notions of sexuality, with the way the film unfolds, another reading which the text provides an opportunity to ruminate on. Naked Killer is a film which is open to variant readings, particularly related to society's relationship with sexuality, yet the film remains fulfilling for those just wanting to watch a bit of escapist extravagance, as the film is visually stunning kaleidoscope of light and image, sumptuous in the way it creates its world around a group of female assassins.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.