The film stars newcomer Jason Yee and our good friend of the site, Art Hsu. So what is the Naked Eye and who is the girl that comes from it? The Naked Eye is a strip joint in Los Angeles, with selected ladies shuttled to make house calls to privileged clients. One of the drivers and muscle, Jake (Jason Yee), falls for the new call girl on his route, Sandy (Samantha Streets). They become close, bonding over weeks, and he is devastated when she is murdered. Jake seeks to find her murderer while deflecting suspicion that he was responsible. The narrative in particular doesn’t add fluff nor does it try and infuse humor into a character that is serious to the core in his pursuit.
You might think I’m trying to make a case for how compelling this movie is, but in fact, I’m merely exemplifying how effectively the filmmakers utilize noir-like conventions. It doesn’t matter if we believe these characters; what does matter is that we see and understand the mechanics of the genre. The dialogue is sharp, real, and humorous, though disparities in the levels of acting occasionally litter the writing. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare The Girl From The Naked Eye to some of the greatest movies of all time, but that is par for the course with neo-noir. Films like L.A. Confidential bank on our having seen the classics as a point of departure, right? This means that, in certain instances, it’s rather exploitative. There’s some graphic sexual content, including female toplessness, although it’s evident mainly in the dialogue, which contains so many four-letter words that even a sailor is liable to blush. Also, although Yee is a great fighter the fighting scenes start getting boring after 40 minutes.
The acting was good, the story had a few holes in it, so as long as you don’t pay too much attention, then you may not notice. Like when Sandy talks about it being her “first night on the job”. That wasn’t believable for a second, but these points are meant to help give us a glimpse into the reality of the protagonist. Although they obviously felt a sexual attraction towards one another, their relationship can better be described as pseudo-father/daughter – or, at the very least, student/mentor. Jake genuinely cared for Sandy, and the more he got to know her, the more he tried to make her see that she could do so much better for herself. But the apparent main attraction of The Girl From The Naked Eye is not the girl eye candy in question, but rather the testosterone drenched, guy on guy martial arts.
Ron Yuan, who also worked behind the camera as the action director and stunt choreographer, stages several scenes that are violently fun. But like I said before, after 40 or so minutes you just start to sigh heavily at the ‘been-there-done-that’ fights. And although the biggest baddest villain in the film is admirable, he is not as mean and relentless as you might expect out of such a genre film. So what did I think as a whole? Well, to wrap up, the sum of its parts results in a film that was directed with a clear vision, choreographed with surgical precision and scripted in a down-to-earth format allowing for a high return on the entertainment dollar. Also, it is always a pleasure to see Art Hsu, no matter how small the role.