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豪情 (2003)
Naked Ambition

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 04/20/2006
Summary: suprisingly well made movie about the porn industry

Is this a true story or not? i wonder.....
The actors have all been well chosen, the direction was excellent and you were never bored. They havent made dramas as good as this for a while now

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/01/2005

You might think a story about the rise of Hong Kong's biggest porn producer would be at least a little smutty. But since most most mainstream Hong Kong movies have as much sex displayed as your average episode of Melrose Place or any other US primetime soap opera, Naked Ambition comes off feeling a bit (pardon the expression) limp. It starts out nicely, but nosedives during the second half into near-melodramatics, which kills a lot of the momentum.

The film has Louis Koo as Hong Kong's king of porn relating his story to a reporter played by Bey Logan. After being fired from his "legitimate" magazine job, Koo (along with his buddy Eason Chan) decides to publish a sort of tourist's guide to hookers in HK. Though things are rough at first, their magazine soon becomes the top seller in HK, thanks to cover girls like Tess Tickle (played by usual tough-girl Josie Ho in a nice role reversal), who specializes in the "hot and cold" technique of oral pleasure. Both Louis and Eason soon begin falling for some of the girls they are writing about, which leads to trouble with both their girlfriends and between themselves, especially after a hard-nosed cop (Danny Lee, in his one millionth stint as an officer in a film) begins cracking down on the local sex trade.

As I said before, Naked Ambition is really good for the first half of its' running time. The characters are interesting, there's some nice comedy and the directing is tight. However, the directors seemed too intent on driving the film's message (having everything is nothing without having true friends) home, and stretch out and exaggerate things way too much in the second half. There's nothing horrible happening here, but things could have definitely been tightened up a bit.

It would have also been nice to see a bit more actual T&A -- this is a Cat III movie about porn, after all. There are a few sex scenes, but they're pretty sedate; in one of them, the actors are fully clothed. I can understand that the film-makers may have not wanted to make what might be considered a porno film themselves -- but it would have been nice to see a little more "production value". Still, Koo and Chan do make a pair of likeable leads, and that (along with good performances from most of the supporting cast as well) is what ultimately makes Naked Ambition a film worth your time.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 03/18/2004
Summary: Sexy and Racy Fun

"Naked Ambition" is a ribald and funny comedy from directors Dante Lam and Chan Hing-Kar. The script by codirector Chan Hing-Kar is filled with raunchy humor and a great deal of pathos for the sex industry workers portrayed in the movie, elements lacking in the earlier "Golden Chicken," which dealt with a prostitute's life. "Naked Ambition" focuses on Andy and John (Louis Koo and Eason Chan) as Hong Kong's notorious twosome of pornography after publication of their Passion Magazine. The film opens with an interview with Andy that provides the focal point in telling the tale of two down and outers who make it big. The two leads are supplemented by a great cast of supporting actors and delightful cameos.

Similar to "Jiang Hu: The Triad Zone," Lam knows when to let the actors go and when to restrain them. For the most part, Lam succeeds. He allows some sophomoric humor to play against the straight and narrow path, without resorting to too much mugging for the camera. The first half of "Naked Ambition" is filled with some truly outrageous comedy. Unfortunately the comedy loses steam and is replaced with some overwrought sentimentality and melodrama that takes the film down the conventional path of a buddy movie, where the leads work together and find success and then split up....

If you aren't too prudish, "Naked Ambition" is an amusing, racy comedy to behold. Unlike some other Hong Kong movies, everyone in "Naked Ambition" spoke Cantonese, natives and foreigners alike. I applaud that decision and the casting choices. Both Koo and Chan do a commendable job, but the movie is stolen from under them by the top notch supporting cast. The ending gets a bit sappy as Koo does his familiar look down and away, while biting his lip to signify ponderous thought, with a hint of regret. That notwithstanding, "Naked Amibition" is out and out fun.