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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Naked Weapon [Blu-ray]

(aka "Chek law dak gung")

 

(Ching Siu-Tung, 2002)

 

 

 

 

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Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Jing's Production Ltd.

Blu-ray: MegaStar (Hong Kong)

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:37.041

Disc Size: 23,972,553,440 bytes

Feature Size: 21,160,679,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.82 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 23rd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 2372 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 2372 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), none

 

Extras:

• Making of – in SD (23:14) in English

• Trailer

 

 

The Film:

Imagine my surprise when “Naked Weapon”, a movie written by Jing Wong, the man behind such lackluster fare as “The Duel” and “High Risk”, turned out to be one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in a long while. The movie, about young girls abducted (some lured by promises of wealth) into the training camp of one Madame M to be her next elite international assassin, is a Chicks Kick Ass flick in the vein of “Charlie’s Angels”, but with the sensibility of a Playboy Wet and Wild video, and the balls of Hong Kong action films like Tsui Hark’s “Time and Tide.” “Naked Weapon” is half exploitation and half balls-out action. Director Siu-Tung Ching handles both angles exceptionally well.

Excerpt of review from Beyond Hollywood located HERE

 


The Movie: 5
I'd like you to imagine yourself a rich international terrorist, with enough money to finance some fairly extravagant operations with a view to the long term. Like most rich people, you are careful with your investments and don't squander your money on mere adventures just for the sake of being cool. So you decide you are going to fund a project that would kidnap pubescent girls from all over the world – girls who have shown a certain talent for martial arts – and take them to a secret island to be trained over a period of six or seven years to become the best assassins in the world. You can imagine an army of Nikitas and the payoffs from contractors. Big money, eh!

Now, your director of operations has just had to kill an agent who was seriously hurt in an otherwise successful assassination, lest she fall into the hands of the authorities and blow her cover. The director needs new blood and so more kidnappings. After another half dozen years she gets it into her head to narrow the field of trainees by having them kill one another off in a sort of Battle Royale so that only the best will be left standing. So, I ask you, if you were the money behind this whole scheme, what would you have to say about your director at this point, realizing that you will only have one assassin to show for the your half dozen years of funding, and keeping in mind the last one didn't live so long?

Did you say: "Off her head?" I should bloody well hope so. But not in Naked Weapon where the money flows like wine and the laws of economics don't apply. It isn't entirely clear, but the director of this operation, a certain "Madame M" (Almen Wong) may be financing this scheme entirely on her own, and the assassin she had to terminate may not have been the result of an earlier set of kidnappings and trainings, but this doesn't change the basic economics and probabilities of the thing.

This nonsense behind us and things settle down to an interesting drama with lots of kick-ass action and some gorgeous images of Charlene (Maggie Q), Katt (Anya) and Jing (Jewell Lee) . After all, some of these girls have mothers, and they're still alive. Meanwhile CIA agent Jack Chen (Daniel Wu) has been following the disappearance of many of these girls from six years ago and believes a connection with the sudden increase of high profile gangster assassinations.

Image: 9/9   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

MegaStar offers Naked Weapon the high gloss image it deserves. Colors pop, though not unnaturally. Blacks are deep and solid. Shadows offer plenty of detail (this isn't a mystery, after all). Sharpness and resolution is very good, in fact the impression is that both are better than they actually are due to lighting and contrast. I found no nasty artifacts, DNR or edge enhancement and, except for one curious thin scratch in a night scene over the harbor, I found no blemishes either. The actual presented aspect ratio is closer to 1.80:1.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 6/6
The Chinese track appears to be the dub, rather than the other way around. In fact, the major players are all more than competent English speakers, having been raised in English speaking countries. In any case, the audio is otherwise much the same, accounting for the difference in spoken language and compressed vs. uncompressed mix. The music, when it appears, seems hell bent on making certain we are unclear whether or not the surrounds are engaged in proper ambient work, though some crowd and traffic noise leaks through. Occasional locational cues are evident, especially during the action scenes. The dialogue, especially on the Dolby TrueHD track, is crystal clear.

 

 

Operations: 8
MegaStar offers a menu design that is simple, easy to read and access its various windows.

 

Extras: 3
Besides a trailer there is only a clearly presented making-of featurette that, while it plays like a promo, touches on all the major production points. We get to see and hear the actors in English interviews, settling that question.

 

 

Bottom line: 6
Naked Weapon is what we call a "guilty pleasure". The basic premise borders on idiotic, but the story that follows, once that aspect of the story plays itself out, isn't nearly as insulting and offers several gorgeous women in suitable outfits performing some credible martial arts, creatively choreographed. A very good Blu-ray image makes this title all the more attractive.

Leonard Norwitz
February 7th, 2010

 

 

 

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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