A scene from writer-director David Ren's "The Girl From The… (Archstone Media )
Early on, it's tempting to dismiss the noir pastiche "The Girl From the Naked Eye" as a warmed-over pulp wannabe, what with the overwrought camera work and clichéd dialogue. But in its moments of sometimes comically violent antagonism, the movie shows some flashes of genre pizazz.
Writer-director David Ren's tale of rainslicked streets, hookers and gangsters begins with a fatally shot young call girl Sandy (Samantha Streets) in the arms of steely-eyed bruiser Jake (Jason Yee, who co-wrote and produced), who'd been assigned to protect her.
Like all noir anti-heroes before him, Jake is committed to avenging her murder even if it means putting himself at odds with plenty of bad men. The fight scenes — choreographed by Ron Yuan (who also plays a club owner) and filmed so one can appreciate the athleticism at hand — are generally fun, and a long-take hallway melee between a tireless Yee and assorted goons is so blatantly reminiscent of "Oldboy" as to be nearly charming in its copycat virtuosity.
In the end, "Naked Eye" has enough amusingly kinetic B-grade mayhem to make one wish that more effort had gone into jazzing up the tired story around it.
"The Girl From the Naked Eye." MPAA rating: R for violence, sexual content and pervasive language. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes. At AMC Atlantic Times Square 14, Monterey Park.