When a high-class escort is murdered (Samantha Streets), her protector, Jake (Jason Yee) stops at nothing to find her killer. Leaving a bloody trail in his path, Jake risks everything to uncover the truth and avenge the death of the woman he loved. “The Girl from The Naked Eye” takes audiences through a thrilling action-packed ride in the underground world of sex and drugs where nothing is what it seems and everything is deadly. Nerdvolution got a hold off this DVD from Anchor Bay, and here is your low-down on what to expect, and most importantly, if it is worth buying!
Imagine one of the tales from “Sin City” in color, and that is the quickest way to sum up “The Girl from The Naked Eye.” Of course, it’s nowhere near as amazing as Sin City, but what is when it comes to this type of genre? The movie is told with a series of flashbacks alluding to the history of Yee’s character and his relationship with Sandy, and what led him to his search now, along with present-day action and intrigue as he does his best to find the truth behind his quest.
A modern-day film noir, director David Ren did a pretty slick job in putting this film together, especially considering that this is his second film ever. The movie was written by Ren, Yee, and Larry Madill, who is the most experienced in terms of writing scripts. Too many cooks can ruin the soup as they say, and we will get to that in a minute. Visually, the movie is a wonderful throwback to the old noir movies, as well as how it is paced, but with a contemporary look and speed to the sequences. It can be both methodical but then jump from 0-60 when it needs to.
I can not blame Jason Yee for the movie being not so spectacular. Yee does his best with the material he was given, and being a still young actor, there is plenty of room for growth. He has the look, he has the martial arts skills, and he has the ability to improve his line reading. Sadly for him, the script for this movie generally falls flat, and does not give him much space to expand his skills, but it is a great piece on his resume that left him with a few nice highlights for his sizzle reel. To be totally fair, Yee was won nominated for Best actor at the 2011 Hoboken International Film Fair with his role in this flick, and I can see potential, but this movie was not the best place to spread his wings.
Ron Yuan steals the show for me as Simon, who is essentially Jake’s boss in the film, and is a surprisingly complicated role. He also has one of my favorite scenes in the movie, which is his failed exploits with a hooker in his room when Jake bursts in. It might be one of the best physical and verbal exchanges in a DVD I have watched all year between the trio, and I had to re-watch it after too since it was so awesome. Samantha Streets plays the woman that Jake is hunting for, Sandy, and is your sympathetic young prostitute with nothing in life to lose, and of course, Jake (being the enforcer with a heart of gold) falls for her. Their relationship grows nicely on-screen, even if some of the dialogue is forced.
There is plenty of action through the movie, and it’s not terribly exciting or special in any way, but it gets the job done. The best sequences are the ones with Yee fighting Latiff Crowder. The pair get three fight scenes together, and have great physical chemistry. It’s a clash of styles as Crowder is more of an acrobatic fighter while Yee is more gritty. The final fight scene in the movie is played out to Ravel’s “Bolero”, a very interesting choice, and absolutely one of the best-shot things in the entire film. It reminded me a lot of “Oldboy”, and is a great way to lead into the climax of the storyline.
My biggest complaint is the blatant false advertising. On the cover of the film, both Sasha Grey and Dominique Swain are given top billing and shown full-body on the packaging, yet both barely appear in the movie. Grey has about three lines in the single scene she is in (which is super short and barely worth a mention other than that she is in it), and Swain actually appears twice in the movie in slightly key scenes, but even then, in a 90-minute movie, appearing for a total of 60 seconds has never exactly been a reason to get your name in the credits as leading ladies. Worse since Samantha Streets and Gary Stretch, who have much more crucial roles, get no credit, and that must have been a horrible feeling to those actors to see that once they got their copies of the DVD.
I genuinely like Jason Yee as a leading man and look forward to seeing his work in the future, and there are a lot of very funny moments in this film, but the serious nature of the script hides those well and makes you yearn for more. The writing is nothing special (aside from those very funny scenes that are few and far between), and I commend the actors and actresses for doing so well with what they had to work with. The direction is very good visually, and just like Yee, I can not wait to see what he does next. This is a film with people that right now, might not be the greatest, but they are all going places, and this is your chance to see them now while they are still learning their craft.
You can order The Girl From the Naked Eye on Amazon.com for around $15. If you like film-noir style flicks with modern settings, decent action, and lots of boobs, then this is the movie for you. In a few years from now, I am confident that all of the people involved on this film will look back on it with fond memories of making it, and laugh about how far they have come since then. It’s a flawed movie, but it’s only because it was simply not the right time to make it, and had the crew been more experienced, this could have been a very good movie instead of just a good one.