It’s easy enough to question the worthwhileness of a project like The Girl from the Naked Eye in the wake of 2005’s Sin City. This ambitious and earnest but perhaps unavoidably flimsy noir-ish actioner simply doesn’t stack up to the scale, razor-edged style, and pathos of Robert Rodriquez and Frank Miller’s film, to which it clearly aspires. Recalling Miller’s first Sin City novel, The Hard Goodbye, The Girl from Naked Eye also concerns a vigilante’s efforts to avenge the death of a woman he barely knew over the course of a prolonged evening in the underbelly of a metropolis. But the film is a whimper compared to Sin City‘s roar.
Sexuality and violence permeate the film, but only superficially, initially teasing the audience with cleaned-up T&A, a la Austin Powers, to distinctly frustrating effect. When the tits, foot fetishists, and a Sasha Grey cameo hit the fan almost all at once, the effect is less hedonistic than dutiful lip service. The expected bloodshed is similarly gutted of its edge, ultimately amounting to little more than some impressive hand-to-hand combat and the occasional CG blood splatter. The end product feels distinctly watered down, but for more patient genre enthusiasts, there are some fleeting pleasures. Yee’s grunge-light voiceover eventually won me over, and there’s a burly dude sporting dreadlocks we don’t see nearly enough of, but barely any of these parts manage to come together into something meaningful or cohesive. If one accepts the overall modesty of the production, the relative tameness can actually be charming; a schoolgirl’s poem plays in important role in the narrative and is indicative of the sought-after romantic, if perhaps naïve, tone. The Girl from the Naked Eye has heart, which is more than can be said of some other recent genre throwbacks, but it ultimately makes barely a splash.