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STUDIO Millennium Media
RUNNING TIME 84 minutes
• 5.1 Audio track
• English Subtitles
A classic Noir tale. Except for the kung-fu, porn star cameo and CGI blood.
Jason Yee, Samantha Streets, Gary Stretch, Dominique Swain, Ron Yuan
Jake, an ex-gambler trying to pay off a debt, works as a driver for The Naked Eye, a private gentleman’s club that fronts for a prostitution ring. Jake is stuck in this sad existence until he meets Sandy, an innocent misguided runaway with nowhere else to go. After Sandy is murdered, Jake will stop at nothing to find her killer. Leaving a bloody trail in his wake, he risks everything to uncover the truth and take his vengeance.
I must say that I actually had a little bit of hope going into The Girl From The Naked Eye. I like Jay and I think he has shown decent charisma and some pretty serious martial arts chops. Add that to a Noir crime story about a dead hooker and a porn star’s name on the box and I was ready for Naked Eye to show me a good time.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. Do not let the box art fool you. Sasha Grey does not star in this movie. Not even close. Actually, she’s in exactly one scene that lasts about four minutes. It’s an ok scene, but that’s all you get. I’m not saying this negatively affects the movie at all. What I’m saying is that if you’re a big Sasha Grey fan, hoping to enjoy her in a “regular movie”, you’ll be disappointed. It’s a pretty despicable ploy to feature her on the poster and box. So there’s your marketing plan for The Girl From The Naked Eye. Put a porn star on the cover in hopes of selling some extra copies to porn fans.
The Girl From The Naked Eye is the story of Jake (Yee), a down on his bouncer / driver / bodyguard for the local strip club/escort service workers. Jake has bad gambling debt and a crappy job, but he’s a pretty good guy underneath. He befriends one of the strippers by the name of Sandy (Streets) and the two develop a strong friendship that is shown mostly through flashbacks in the film. When Sandy is found dead one morning, Jake will stop at nothing to find out who was responsible, even if it means tangling with his boss, Simon (Yuan), and many other higher ups in the mob world.
I think a major problem with The Naked Eye is that it tries to be a lot of things and doesn’t fully realize any of them successfully. It definitely goes for the Neo-Noir feel with seedy night club settings, internal dialogue narrations and dames that smoke countless cigarettes and are smoking hot at the same time. Unfortunately the clunky dialogue, filled with a boat load of F-Bombs, kind of takes you out of any Noir feeling you may have had. It’s pretty laughable at times, which I guess can add to the entertainment value if that’s your thing.
The Naked Eye also goes for the action category and doesn’t totally succeed there either. While it sets you up for what looks like some interesting three or four against one fight scenes for Yee, much of the choreography is just uninspired. I felt like I had seen it all before and done better on a bigger stage. Because of recent successes of martial arts films like The Raid and Yip Man, the genre is flooding the market these days. This is magnified in the direct to DVD market, and the bar has been significantly raised in terms of overall quality. It’s just not enough to have a few fistfights in a stairwell anymore and that’s all that The Girl From The Naked Eye seems to be doing. CGI blood splatter actually adds positively in this case, and is used sparingly just to add extra oomph to the final blow in a few battles.
The acting is pretty much B movie level all the way around. Yee is capable of carrying an action movie, but he’s asked to do a bit more in The Naked Eye and his deficiencies are exposed a bit. Samantha Streets is decent enough in her flashback roles as Sandy, but Ron Yuan is way over the top as Simon.
All in all I was let down a bit by The Girl from the Naked Eye. A martial arts film in a new-noir setting is a solid and original idea that should have been easier to pull off. A little less attention to the Noir and a little more attention to the action would have served them well.
Do not watch the included trailer before you watch the film. There is a major spoiler in it. It’s hard to believe that this trailer was ever used in promotion of this film and included in the home release. Mind boggling. Besides that, this is a completely bare bones release.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars