# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Na Cha And The Seven Devils (1973) Directed by: Yamanouchi Tetsuya

Compared to the Chang Cheh adaptation of the Chinese protection deity Na Cha the year after, this 1973 Shaw Brothers production does not go for the origin point but the little boy amongst gods in heaven goes on an adventure among many presumably out of the literary works. Na Cha (Yau Lung, who is more age appropriate for the role) accidentally makes a rare kind of peach, that becomes ripe every thousand years or so, drop to earth and has to retrieve them before they end up in the wrong hands due to the power they possess. Well they do and the titular devils (coming in the form of a frog, eagle, rat, horse etc) get their snack and take on a form that allows them to terrorize humans. A wise choice to depict at Shaw Brothers who do well providing the special effects trickery needed to make the world of gods and humans come to life. The key here is that they don't lean on one set of inclusion but mixes wire work, rear- and front projection shots, miniatures, puppets etc in a restrained and clever way. It really does make the world feel fantastical as it should and also very physical due to the practical effects at hand here. This is no frantic fantasy entry but a fun, snappy one by director Yamanouchi Tetsuya (co-director of the 1969 Taiwanese Na Cha movie Feng Shen Bang). Despite also skipping on the gruesome backstory, the content is sometimes bloody and mildly adult at points as the devils use their newly gained powers for sexual purposes as well. Also starring Ching Li, Tina Chin Fei and Chen Hung-Lieh.

Na Cha The Great (1974) Directed by: Chang Cheh

Made for Chang Cheh's Taiwanese production company and distributed by Shaw Brothers, he depicts the story of the Chinese protection deity Na Cha (also referred to as Nezha and played here by Alexander Fu Sheng) from battling the oppressing dragon prince, self sacrifice, resurrection and feuding with his father in the wake of the family's disgrace. The lean is obviously towards the fantastical, with this being a world of humans, demons with a Na Cha curious about the world and trying to do the right thing by protecting those in need. As originally written, the tale is partly very gruesome (including Na Cha's graphic suicide that is shown briefly in red filters as this bloodshed would not pass censors in any other way but a latter scene is a bloodbath in every colour EXCEPT red. Well played) and Chang Cheh stays true to these basic beats yet brings down his usual bloodshed to a level where this is ALMOST general audiences-friendly. The half hour leading up to Na Cha's death and resurrection drags a little but the remaining hour is a fairly fun time of special effects imagery with action set pieces on both earth and in heaven. This means Lau Kar-Leung and Tong Gai's action choreography (mostly grounded and in itself quite solid without raising eyebrows) is also added upon by rear projection, puppetry (way preferably to a computer generated fight with a dragon had it been made today), and we of course get the depiction of Na Cha's trusted weapons such as the Wind Fire Wheels and the Universe Ring. Colourful, quite evenly paced and Fu Sheng tackles the role with youthful, energetic flavour (the character is otherwise often depicted as a young boy). Also with Fung Hak-On, Lo Dik, Kong Do and Jamie Luk as a giant.

Naked Comes The Huntress (1978) Directed by: Wong Fung

Three friends (Chen Sing, James Tien & Wong Ching) turn up in Manchuria to find fortunes and prosperity of some kind. Almost devoured by the perils of the land, the trio stumble upon a young, naked girl in the snowy landscape. She is Mien Mien (Lee Ying-Ying) who is actually using her still, naked body to attract the minks that she and her father hunt for a living. The trio of men are subsequently invited to her home where they work for the family in exchange for food and shelter. Soon the alluring nature of Mien Mien gets the lust in Wong Ching's character going but Mien Mien is saved by Chen Sing, the elder of the trio. Love is in the air but not in the eyes of the father who wants to marry the daughter to the younger James Tien character. Deception and betrayal soon enter...

A change of pace due the harsh locale and a welcome veering away from over the top martial arts esthetics, Wong Fung still can't make the simple template ignite as such. The English title really feels like a mere episode of the film, clearly done for commercial purposes and there's no throughline to the Mien Mien character that at the end connects to our initial naughty sight of her. As thriller elements enter with paranoia, mystery and violence, Naked Comes The Huntress can be commended for trying but there's no true tension ever created. It's competent but merely there and that means we're looking for more sparks in all honesty.

Naked Poison (2000) Directed by: Cash Chin

Cash Chin apparently did not feel like ending a streak of Hong Kong cinema tomfoolery within the Category III rating, actually arriving late in the wake of the "golden" era of unashamedly raunchy, vicious and rude filmmaking. Giving us one of the all time greats in The Eternal Evil Of Asia, moving on with the likes of Sex & Zen II, The Fruit Is Swelling and in 2000, Naked Poison, it is indeed unashamedly out there, cheap filmmaking and we thank him for it. Starring Samuel Leung (Lost Boys In Wonderland, Once Upon A Time In Triad Society 2) as an overly horny, bullied youth utilizing his grandpas snake serum to assume control over those who did him wrong, if you were to follow ground rules of filmmaking, you wouldn't have an unsympathetic character doing unsympathetic acts. There is a miiiiinor streak of good in Leung's Ng Chi-Min though, in particular his actual relationship with Chan (Gwennie Tam, very sweet but she doesn't survive the acting challenge when working with this material even) but this is still a subject consumed by power so with that scripted beat, director Chin adds the usual elements of softcore sex, sadomasochism and umm...usual body melting effects, Some off-beat humour also rears its head, wrapped in a competent package visually (Chin served as one of the cinematographers on the film). Naked Poison is really the definition of being jerked around but as late as 2000, the rating didn't get as depraved of a treatment as it gets here and there's an appreciation that could be directed towards that choice.

Choices of having quite inappropriate doctor characters and a gay detective enter at points does actually disrupt the throughline Chin presents. Sophie Ngan also stars and appears distinctly on the dvd cover for the film. A poster art that connects merely vaguely to the actual plot.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

Naked Poison II (2002) Directed by: Batman Hung

Concocted by Matrix Productions, directed by Batman Hung and echoing the plot of Memento, the non-related sequel to Cash Chin's Naked Poison is certainly not subtle about its shameless cinematic thievery. But the welcome return of Category III nastiness and raunchiness in 2000 by Cash Chin doesn't extend to Batman Hung's work here. So that's why it's theft and not shameless behaviour. Padded to an endless 100 minutes, in this case it's not the routine sex scenes taking up space but the thriller plot about Ann (Sophie Ngan) trying to regain her memory by writing clues over her body as that memory only stays for 15 minutes at a time. Helped out by a cop (Mark Cheng), the crucial part to remember the details of is the night of the murder of Ann's boyfriend Kent (Matthew Ng). So she starts revisiting her life that included lesbian love, autoerotic asphyxiation and S & M. Yay for the viewer? You would think so and there is certainly audience friendly elements present in the sex on display but taking over all that is awkward acting by lead Ngan (bless her heart, she does try), thin and uninteresting plotting that certainly doesn't deserve this much video tape. A smarter producer could still have created similar content to this shot on video production but halted at 75-80 minutes. I promise, the ride could've even been worth it for detractors of the current product.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Naked Weapon (2002) Directed by: Ching Siu-Tung

I pray and hope that Media Asia and writer/producer Wong Jing weren't aiming for the A-market with their English language actioner Naked Weapon. If so, dear oh dear...how far up your own bottom can you be? Although lessened a little on the turkey scale when screened with the Cantonese dub, this new millennium re-thread of the Naked Killer "concept" (only featuring a tad of exploitation "goodies" including brutal violence and rape) is astoundingly poor, even overall in the department that matters (I.e. Ching Siu-Tung's involvement as action director). With a leading duo of ladies photographed quite NOT so beautifully as you would need (look at Anya in Sharp Guns. Now THERE she made an impression), any bonding or drama is seriously flat with the acting not taken up above the material by director Ching.

The action, an obvious nod to out of this world, high flying spectacles a la the 90s rely mostly on the non-martial arts performers that even the old days had no qualms about doubling extensively. However back then there was favourable effect and impression to be found when obviously faking that the stars weren't doing fighting. While admirable to push Maggie Q and Anya, it means no props to the execution. There's one neat sequence here set at the house of Cheng Pei-Pei's where Ching combines his actresses and doubles to fine effect but the end tally for Naked Weapon is that of devoid of energy and insistence to make the action work. Take a look at So Close instead where Corey Yuen managed to find the workable vein for the trio of his ass kicking ladies. What really is Wong Jing's Naked Weapon is a shallow mess in intent but he's not able to work magic from that simple goal either. Co-starring a wooden Daniel Wu, a feisty Li Fei and Andrew Lin.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

A Narrow Escape (1994) Directed by: Godfrey Ho

Godfrey Ho's second 'Unit 731' movie and more of a true sequel (in terms of how it follows the end events) to Mou Tun-Fei's Men Behind The Sun, A Narrow Escape (aka Men Behind The Sun 3) sees the Japanese army destroy all evidence at the human experimentation camp 731 before invading forces arrive. One soldier (Jimmy Au returning from Laboratory Of The Devil in a different role) accidentally gets infected by plague bacteria. Taking this secret with him and only select friends, they jump a train out of Manchuria and try to deal with preventing spreading the disease and the Japanese empire falling apart. Admirable in intent as it deals less with being a full movie of replication of human experimentation already seen in the first movie and Ho's 1992 effort, the drama structure works in small bursts only. Attempting to provide how internally the Japanese characters (remorseful or not) deals with their nation having fallen, Ho opts for way too intense melodrama that never affects. Getting the shock value into the movie by featuring flashbacks to, among other things, the autopsy footage shot for 'Devil', it feels less lazy as it is HIS and is integrated well for the purpose.

Naughty Boys (1986) Directed by: Wellson Chin

It would take long before Wellson Chin found some form of voice. Exploring horror and comedy in the 90s was his key, giving his acclaimed efforts such as Thou Shalt Not Swear. Earlier on, he gave us The Inspector Wears Skirts series but his collaboration with Jackie Chan started with his first film here, Naughty Boys. A grating comedy largely with "inspired" jokes about Carina Lau's bosom, Billy Lau drooling over said bosom and Stanley Fung as private detective dressed just like Sherlock Holmes. Side splitting...

But having Jackie and his team on board means action so as soon as Wellson Chin goes away from the set permanently (around the time the timber mill sequence hits), Naughty Boys delivers! Jackie combines all the trademarks concerning stunts, props fighting and general pain, putting the performers and his team to work (and in the actor's shoes at times), culminating in a wonderful warehouse finale. The only flaw of it all is that the man himself doesn't take part in it at all. A first reel cameo is all of Jackie we see before the outtakes. Hence the film never having received much of a spotlight over the years. It seems Jackie fired on much of his creative cylinders working with Wellson Chin here because when The Inspectors Wears Skirts came out, the action level was noticeably subdued. Naughty Boys also stars Mars, Kara Hui, Clarence Fok, Lo Meng, Phillip Ko and Tai Po.

Naughty Couple (1994) Directed by: Clifford Choi

Perhaps Clifton Ko and Raymond To are lurking somewhere behind the scenes of this film version of the stage play (it wouldn't be the first time they brought out one such) that also starred Francis Ng but as far as official connections to Ko and To, we only find the screenwriter Szeto Wai-Kin who penned I Will Wait For You.

Naughty Couple sees the age old comedic web of lies at the forefront, involving a lot of characters, most of them horny, some being mistaken as homosexual, all confined to a single setting. Yes, it really is the filmed stage play in a lot of ways and I wish I could say this type of situation comedy has grown on me as I've grown older. Director Clifford Choi thinks it's ok to feature an overabundance of unreasonable characters and lies but not so much of a viewer smirk manifests itself during the wacky proceedings. Also starring Anita Lee, Chan Suk-Yee, Sunny Chan and Lee Fung.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

The Naval Commandos (1977) Directed by: Chang Cheh

A major co-directing effort involving Chang Cheh understudies Wu Ma, Lau Wai Ban and Pau Hsueh-Li but an early assembly on screen of actors that was to become part of The Venoms films (Phillip Kwok, Chin Kuan Chun and Chiang Sheng being the cases in point here). Promising grand naval battles with bearable miniature work during the opening reel, The Naval Commandos takes less of the war, action and martial arts route to instead delivery more of a spy story, with obvious patriotic undertones. Chang Cheh's presence is felt as he transfers key moments of brotherhood and chivalry from the martial arts world to a more contemporary setting (Ti Lung's last stand of course reminds us of similar things experienced in The Heroic Ones). The climax is also suitably in tone with Chang's sensibility towards his preferred theme portrayal (I.e. a few buckets of blood).

Then perhaps the joint directors worked on the middle section of the film that, while decent on tension, stops the film mostly dead, border lining on dull. In the action directing department, Robert Tai and company are not trying to stylize anything, which is fine but laughable stunts popping up here and there detracts. The Naval Commandos isn't bad just because it's just another Chang Cheh film but that should tell you to not prioritize it. David Chiang, Tony Lau and Alexander Fu co-stars.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

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