Movie Review: The Girl from the Naked Eye / Cert: 15 / Director: David Ren / Screenplay: Larry Madill, David Ren, Jason Yee / Starring: Jason Yee, Samantha Streets, Gary Stretch / Release Date: June 15th (US), TBC (UK)
The Girl from the Naked Eye is an impressive, enigmatic neo-noir film that grabs the viewer's eyes and won't let go!
The movie starts out at a pulp detective magazine as a happy Japanese song is heard over the scene where the camera glides along to discover Jake (Jason Yee) in an apartment as the rain pours down over a dirty city at night. He's upset over the loss of someone close to him, Sandy (Samantha Streets), as he cradles her lifeless body in his arms narrating the story of how his troubles began.
After Jake looses his boss's brand new Mercedes Benz in a card game and given a beating to show him the error of his gambling ways, he's forced to take a job as a driver to pay off his hundred grand debt at a local strip club named The Naked Eye, owned by a seedy character, Simon (Ron Yuan) who runs an escort business on the side. It's here he meets the new working girl, Sandy whom he befriends, but Sandy has hidden secrets of her own.
Larry Madill, Jason Yee and director, David Ren crafted an intelligent story about the dark side of life filled with noir-ish elements and a Sin City look shot at night. There's lots of great dialogue including a few funny moments, but the story never strays from its thriller roots in its fast paced 85 minutes running time. Yee is a good actor and lights up the screen with his presence portraying the brooding anti-hero, Jake. Like the great Bruce and Brandon Lee before him, he has this electrifying on camera charisma and plays his martial arts for keeps on the screen. I'm sure he'll go far.
Filled with dynamite performances and non-stereotypical villains that include Gary Stretch as a baddie working for the local police department that has a stake in Simon's midnight enterprise, henchmen Johnny (Jerry Ying), fan favorite Art Hsu (Crank 2, The FP) in a brief role as Sammy along with martial arts professional Lateef Crowder as Max who proves to be a worthy opponent against Jake that includes an impressive fight scene to the tune of Ravel's Bolero all add to the film's solid core of a great movie.
Henry Mu and Jason Yee produced the film on an amazingly low budget of $1.1 million dollars that looks like a $10 million dollar Hollywood film. Cinematographer Max Da-Wang has to be praised for his impressive visual imagery along with editors Richard Halsey and Greg Babor and their tight editing. Production designer Suzanne Rattigan nailed the film noir world and composer Danny Manor adds to the moodiness with his score including a David Lynchian guitar riff. Ron Yuan was also the fight choreographer, action director, stunt coordinator and producer on the film, keeping the extreme, precision action going and never lets up.
If you like film, noir, mystery, action and a good story, The Girl from the Naked Eye is for you.
Expected: 8 out of 10