Naked Rose (1994)

Directed by: Yeung Jing
Producer: ?
Written by: Yeung Chi-Gat
Starring: Ken Tong, Lau Hoh-Man, Wong Wing-Fong, Wong Hei-Wa & Li Yu-Fen

Since so many Hong Kong movies of in particular 1993 and 1994 were adult, Category III rated movies, this assembly line of quality and not so quality mathematically meant some were just riding the wave while others created new ripples. Naked Rose finds itself in the former camp, trying to catch a good thing while relevant and hot. A camp it's not very skilled at performing in.

One of many stories of village girls or Mainland girls coming to Hong Kong to support their family and mostly ending up as prostitutes, it's a template you can work as it holds dramatic potential and darkness. Naked Rose simplifies matters a bit as Kitty (Lau Hoh-Man) only seeks fame and fortune. Yes, there is the element of supporting her ailing mother but basic interest is generated because of this quite shallow mentality. It takes going through some jobs entertaining creepy clients, young and old and expectedly Kitty is easily exploited because of her naive drive that fame and fortune makes her as a person. Also added to the mix is a conflicted and down on his luck photographer (Ken Tong) as the love interest for her. But being in love with Kitty makes him re-think and MAYBE he'll be on an artistic path once the movie is over. Or less of an exploitative path.

Now, director Yeung Jing (1994's Possessed) may be working with ideas that sound mature as written and thankfully the movie goes for one tone rather than adding comedy and EXTREME darkness. But Naked Rose is pretty flatline from the getgo and leaves quite firmly established character behind after a reel or two (such as a kind police officer). Low budget but no vision to make this potentially gritty, dramatic story come to life, the beats are just shot and edited into the movie with hope and desperation that effect will be there.

It makes for a dull execution and even the sellable Category III erotica element (plus some harsher violence including a castration-scene) is not cared for particularly well. There are sensual build ups that showcase potential but Yeung Jing or maybe the editor clearly got bored as we abruptly cuts from foreplay to full on sex and even that is over quickly. When you're not into your commercialism for adults, neither the marketable content nor your drama has a chance of standing out. Naked Rose represents that genre-fatigue Hong Kong quickly felt during this Category III explosion in the early 90s.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson