The Girl From the Naked Eye: Cannes 2011 Review

Noir detective yarn pumped by martial arts and aimed straight at the teen male audience.

David Ren directs Jason Yee and Samantha Streets in the detective film.

CANNES -- Kung-fu gets pulped in this comic-book level movie, which should appeal to teenaged and 20-something males. A noir-ish actioner with plenty of strippers, The Girl from the Naked Eye should be a strong contender in high-testosterone territories:  venues near frat houses, military bases and dojos.

Naked Eye (the same of a strip joint) stars Jason Yee as Jake, a lone-wolf  detective a la Philip Marlowe, who also packs lethal martial-arts skills. Like most private dicks, Jake has bad-girl trouble; in this case, Sandy, a heart-of-gold hooker (Samantha Streets) straight from good ole Springfield. Sandy oozes milk-and-cookies but sashays like a femme fatale.

Jake’s had a problem with the booze, which led to big gambling debts to less-than-tolerant lenders.  To work off his debut, Jakes toils as a driver/hooker-protector for a big sleaze named Simon, who runs a thriving whore house in downtown Noir Land. Sandy gets plugged and this sets Jake off on an avenging spree: pummeling, gouging and plugging bad guys all over the mean streets.

Capped with a signature noir voice-over from Jake, Naked Eye hits the all the right generic spots. Director David Ren slices clean through the narrative and blazes along with enough fury to cover the holes in the plotting.

The technical credits are sound, particularly cinematographer Max Da-Yung Wang’s sinister scopings, and production designer  Suzanne Rattigan’s pulp-comic look.

As Jake, Yee doesn’t indulge in any wasteful acting motion, other than to smoke cigarettes, letting his ass-kickings speak for his character.  As the good-girl-gone-bad, Street is a nice mix of innocence and danger, while Brandy Grace is wonderfully alluring and aggravating as a ferocious Dragon Lady hooker.

Venue: Cannes Film Festival: Market
Sales: Archstone Distribution
Production company: Mu-Yee Prods.
Cast: Jason Yee, Samantha Streets, Gary Stretch, Dominique Swain, Ron Yuan Wilson, Jermaine Heredia, Brandy Grace
Director: David Ren
Screenwriters: Jason Yee, Larry Madill
Producers: Jason Yee, Ron Yuan
Director of photography: Max Da-Yung Wang
Production designer: Suzanne Rattigam
Costume designer: Hazel Alonzo
Editors: Greg Babor, Richard Halsey
No rating, 92 minutes

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