15 March 2010 | Coventry
The Stray Cats will Rock this Town; Rock it inside-out!
You never really know what to expected with these early 70's Japanese Pinky Violence/Exploitation movies, but the absolute last thing I ever expected to find in a film lusciously entitled "Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter" was a socially relevant and thought-provoking allegory on topics such as racism, female liberation and brotherhood. There are a handful of "Stray Cat Rock" movies, but apparently "Sex Hunter" is the most widely available one and also the most superior one in the cycle. I'm certainly tempted to believe that, because what I saw was a compelling film from start to finish; - albeit with a exemplary crowd-pleasing elements like sexy eloquent girls, grotesque moments at comedy and kitschy musical interludes. Most bizarre, however, is the surprisingly low amount of explicit violence and gratuitous nudity. The main emphasis here lies on plausible story and the increasing tension between the rivaling gangs/sexes. The unearthly beautiful Meiko Kaji (later she became Japan's most successful exploitation actress thanks to "Lady Snowblood" and the "Female Prisoner: Scorpion" series) stars as Mako, the leading lady of an all-girls gang known as the Alley Cats. The girls are tough and independent, but they nevertheless still stand in the shadow of "The Eagles". They are a male gang, led by sadistic Baron and driving around the city in military jeeps. The Eagles are a bunch of racists, particularly against the half-bloods (the offspring of Japanese women and American WWII soldiers) who're allegedly stealing their women. The hard-boiled Mako is also falling in love with a half-blood, named Kazuma, but he actually came to town to look for his long lost baby sister. "Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter" turned out to be much more compelling, suspenseful and memorable than we (my fellow cinema mate and I) dared to anticipate. I love it when that happens! Director Yasuharu Hasebe may perhaps be most (in)famous for his downright deviant exploitation-porn movies, like "Assault! Jack the Ripper" and "Rape!", but this undoubtedly must be his best movie. Besides, if you're really looking for weird stuff, you'll still enjoy the inexplicably theatrical denouement and the numerously shameless attempts at product placement by Coca Cola.