The film opens with a shape-shifting Yukari Oshima (the titular 'Devil Cat') battling the Dog Demon who has been chasing Yukari for 500 years in order to win her affection (I admire his dedication!). The film skips forward another 500 years to the present day and the Dog Demon is still trying to get into Yukari's knickers. However, this time she kills him but she is injured in the process.
Chun-Hai (Alex Fong) stumbles across the wounded Yukari and helps patch her up but she mysteriously vanishes soon after.
Elsewhere, Kay (Shum Wai) and his girlfriend have recently moved to Hong Kong in search of a better life for themselves. Kay is unexpectedly taken ill and his girlfriend, Ping, is left with no choice but to work as a bar girl to pay for Kay's medical bills. Ping is raped by the lecherous manager of the club and subsequently commits suicide from the shame. During an unsuccessful revenge attack, Kay is run over and killed by the club boss. This is witnessed by Monny (Yuen Pui-Hsuen), Chun-Hai's girlfriend, which sets off a series of attempted kidnappings as the club boss tries to silence the one person who can finger him. It is here that Yukari reappears. Indebted to Chun-Hai for the kindness he showed her, Yukari stealthily lends him a helping hand disguised as a cat - but transforming into ass-kicking Yukari when needed.
After the lively duel between Yukari and the Dog Demon, the film gets bogged down with the unnecessarily drawn out sub-plot involving Kay and Ping. This hampers the film's pacing significantly. Without the presence of Alex Fong or Yukari Oshima on-screen, you can't help wondering how long left until the two stories converge. Thankfully the second half picks up, and the long-winded plot is ultimately a flimsy excuse for the director to show off some cool transformation effects. Scenes of Yukari morphing into a cat and shooting laser beams from her fingertips are cheap but fun and effective. A sequence where she is flying through the air with a baby's cot had a goofy charm about it which I enjoyed!
Devil Cat is not a very good film but the legions of Yukari Oshima fans (me included) generally accept that they often need to sit through a few turds in her filmography now and again. Poor pacing and the lack of notable actors aside, the main problem in the film for me was that none of the villains are a physical match for Yukari. There are a number of fights and two sexual assaults but nothing too graphic and all shot with little tension or flair.
For Yukari fans though, Devil Cat is still worth seeking out. The magic / fantasy elements make a nice change to her usual roles and the action, although not exactly top tier is competent and frequent enough to earn the film a very marginal recommendation.
2 out of 5
Review source: Pan-Asia Video, VHS (USA) (Cantonese language with English subtitles)