All of 16 years old, but with the soul of an old poet, fresh hooker Sandy Wright (Samantha Street, Alien Raiders) is dead, and Jake (Jason Yee, who co-wrote the script), the club’s driver, takes it upon himself to track down her killers and dish out the requisite payback. Having saved the runaway girl from being gang-raped, Jake — as we see in flashbacks — had a protective thing for Sandy, and their romance was palpable, despite being short-lived.
I’ve never seen Yee before (not my fault, as his credits number only a few), but he makes a good impression here as a cucumber-cool avenger amid a cesspool of likely suspects. That includes his own sleazy boss, who loves no one like he loves animal crackers.
Slight in story, but slick in execution (thanks to co-writer director David Ren, who wisely uses as many noir elements as he can, from rain to neon), The Girl from the Naked Eye reminded me of the recent straight-to-video thriller The Big Bang, an ultimately disappointing Antonio Banderas vehicle. Although Naked Eye is not as sexy as The Big Bang, it sells the same style of story better for a fraction of the money.
The film’s biggest names — Dominique Swain (Alpha Dog) and Sasha Grey (The Girlfriend Experience) — are barely in it, as this is designed as a showcase for Yee. He demonstrates action-hero potential in the flick’s climactic martial-arts scene that descends down a hallway, Oldboy-style. This is nowhere near the level of that, mind you, but as disposable weekend entertainment, one could do far worse. At least this film exhibits a degree of visual panache and a desire to reach beyond the bar. —Rod Lott
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