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Girl from the Naked Eye, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Hey, You Try Doing Kung-Fu Moves On A Dark And Rain-Soaked Street"
3 stars

If you have been sitting around the house wondering what a film consisting of parts lifted wholesale from "Mona Lisa," "Point Blank," "Sin City" and the super-violent kung-fu epic of your choice (and I am fairly certain that we have all done that from time to time), your prayers have finally been answered with the release of the decidedly odd "The Girl from the Naked Eye," a low-budget stab at neo-noir that literally comes at us from the pages of a trashy pulp novel and which contains all of the nudity, blood, profanity and other sleaze that the original film noirs of the Forties and Fifties were forbidden from utilizing.

The film stars Jason Yee as Jake, a two-fisted dope whose gambling problem lands him into a $100,000 hole that he endeavors to pay off by going to work for a local pimp as a driver who ferries call girls to and from their assignations. One day, newcomer Sandy (Samantha Streets) steps into his car and the tough guy is instantly besotted with her. When she turns up brutally murdered (no, this is not a spoiler since it occurs right at the start of the film with their relationship conveyed via a series of flashbacks),, Jake is immediately fingered as a suspect but when he proves that he didn't do it and realizes that no one else seems much interested in getting to the bottom of the crime, he decides to take matters into his own hands and pursue it in his own way. That way, it turns out, involves him roaming the rain-slicked, neon-hued streets of the dark, forbidding and unnamed city searching for information and pounding the crap out of everyone who gets in his way by trying to keep him from learning too much. Spoiler Alert! There is a lot of crap-pounding on display.

Truth be told, this isn't a particularly great movie by any means and Yee is kind of a stiff when he isn't smashing up the joint--there isn't much of a plot to be had, what little there is of it is not exactly worth writing home about--but at the same time, I can't say that I was ever really bored by it. Director David Ren isn't reinventing the wheel here but he handles the familiar material with a swift and stylish manner and the film demonstrates a sly sense of self-aware humor at times--such as bringing in Sasha Grey (whose appearance, despite what the poster might lead you to believe, barely qualifies as a cameo) to play perhaps the only woman on display who doesn't take off a single item of clothing or weirdo dialogue such as the soon-to-be-immortal taunt "You couldn't kill a chicken at a Chinese cockfight!" In fact, it even contains two scenes that are pretty close to great to boot--a scene between our hero, a bad guy and the bad guy's girlfriend that continually veers back and forth between a fight scene and a sex scene and another fight scene in which the bad guys continually make the mistake of assuming that they have killed their hero and pay the price for their laziness.

"The Girl from the Naked Eye" doesn't quite work in the end and even the quirks that I have cited above aren't quite enough for me to suggest that you run and check it out if you happen to be near one of the cities where it is making its presumably brief theatrical run. That said, it is infinitely more interesting that the big new releases this weekend and if my description has made it sound intriguing, you might want to give it a chance if it is playing near you or at least check it out when it hits home video.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=23799&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/15/12 12:31:25
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USA
  15-Jun-2012 (R)
  DVD: 24-Jul-2012

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Jun-2012
  DVD: 24-Jul-2012




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