The Video Nasties #125 – Naked Fist (1981, Cirio H Santiago)

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‘It’s not everyday a fox like you comes into town.’

Do you like fighting? Do you like watching people fighting? Well, you’d better if you plan on sitting through Naked Fist, which is approximately 60% people beating each other up. Fighting in hotel rooms, fighting in bars, fighting in a ring – nowhere is off limits for a bloody good fight. If this is what The Philippines is like, then I’m gonna give it a miss, no matter how pretty it looks.

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Naked Fist begins with the theme music from Shogun Assassin, which will recur throughout the movie. We see the whitest man in the world fighting someone and impaling him on a spear, before cutting to a plane landing.

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Our heroine, Suzanne, enters a hotel room, where two man jump her and she fights them off while wearing lingerie. It’s like someone said, ‘Yeah, Bruce Lee is pretty good, but what if he was a petite blond lady in see-through panties?’ It’s a good question, and one that Naked Fist sets out to answer. Everywhere Suzanne goes she seems to get into a fight. At one point she fights a man, which earns her enough respect to fight another man, with the eventual goal being able to fight a different man.

Like I said, there’s a lot of fighting.

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Thankfully, the choreography of the bouts is above average for a non-Hong Kong martial arts movie. Most of the combatants are at least competent, and Jillian Kesner as black-belt Suzanne is certainly enthusiastic, even if her burly stunt double could really do with a less ratty looking wig.

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There are two scenes that allow Naked Fist access to the pantheon of exploitation greats though, even if the rest of the film is pretty standard. The first is when Suzanne is jumped by two thugs while walking home. The ensuing fight leads them through an old warehouse, with the thugs tearing Suzanne’s clothes off one by one until she’s fighting them off in her underwear.

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She rams one of them headfirst into a circular saw, before the remaining goon slices her bra open with a scythe! Undeterred, Suzanne beats the shit out of him in just her knickers, before smiling and walking away, which begs the question – did she just walk home like that?

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It’s exploitation trash perfection, and is only topped by one of the weirdest sex scenes in cinema history. Suzanne and her gross hairy boyfriend are lying on the bed. He pulls out two knives and starts to very, veeeeeeerrrrry slowly slice her clothes off. It’s by far the longest scene in the movie, as he saws his way through her entire wardrobe while a melancholy piano track plays. She then does what any normal person would do and punches him in the face, before taking the knives and doing the same to him! It’s the kind of mingling of sex and violence that gave the British censors the heebie-jeebies, but the best part is when they finally get down to the sex and she pauses, looks him dead in the eye and says, ‘I can feel the blood pulse inside your head.’

It’s an odd moment in a film full of odd moments. By no stretch of the imagination a horror movie, but fans of kung fu films and exploitation sleaze will be in a near constant state of delirium throughout.

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