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Home Vision Entertainment presents
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (1970)

"I'm fighting back! Our way!"
- Mako (Meiko Kaji)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: June 21, 2004

Stars: Meiko Kaji, Tatsuya Fuji, Rikiya Yasouka, Jir Okazaki, Mie Hanabusa
Other Stars: Nobuko Aoiki, Mari Koiso
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, language)
Run Time: 01h:24m:55s
Release Date: June 22, 2004
UPC: 037429186725
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+B-C- C

DVD Review

This title is the third in a series of five Stray Cat Rock girl gang films made by the prolific Japanese studio Nikkatsu during the early 1970s. The director of Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter—Yasuharu Hasebe—did three of them, and the entire series is awash in a groovy, knife-wielding, nightclub-hopping world of the Japanese underground, and if we're to believe Hasebe, it is populated by sexy gangs of young girls whose immaculate fashion sense is only second to their skill with a blade.

The theme this time revolves around half-breeds (referring to someone who is half Japanese and half something else), with a convergence of a few plot points all centering on characters working to resolve their own sticky personal matters. The rough-and-tumble girl gang led by tough chick Mako (Meiko Kaji) find unexpected romance—in between rolling innocent men on the street—with a couple of half-breed men, one of whom is searching for his long-lost half-breed sister, who coincidentally just happens to be a member of Mako's gang. Across town, a local crimelord named The Baron, who heads up a group of jeep-driving thugs known as The Eagles, has waged his own war against half-breeds, because he is still stinging from the memory of the rape/death of his sister at the hands of "a half."

Most of the performances—with all their bravado posturing—tend to blend into one another, but Meiko Kaji, who starred in a couple of the Stray Cat Rock films, completely owns this one; her badass persona just resonates whenever she is onscreen. Aside from being handy with a switchblade and Molotov cocktails, she sports a dandy wide brim black hat, dresses like she stepped out of a fashion-friendly western, and possesses a wonderfully down-and-dirty scowl. Maybe not as well known as some of the other major exploitation stars of the period, Kaji has the proper strut and demeanor of a true genre icon, and her turn as Mako is really the saving grace of this entry in the series.

There is an authentic retro-grooviness to Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, from its violent tone to its hipster soundtrack of jazzy sax and quirky songs to the flashy outfits to, well, just an overall kitschy pop sensibility that directors like Quentin Tarantino go to great lengths to emulate today. But this isn't a copy—it is the real deal—a fast-paced dose of slightly hollow eye candy, one that is more concerned with what it can show you than what kind of story it can tell.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Home Vision has issued Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and well not perfect, is an unexpectedly strong transfer for a foreign B-movie pushing 35 years old. The weakest scenes occur at night, where black levels are horribly murky, but the interior sequences (especially those in the nightclubs) are largely full of warm colors. The print is marred by some grain issues, but overall a respectable effort considering its age.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoJapaneseno


Audio Transfer Review: A harsh Japanese mono track is the sole audio option. This one is definitely a bit iffy, as voices noticeably clip and distort during any loud passages (of which their are many), making many of the sequences somewhat cringe inducing. Good news is that the groovy all-girl half-breed go-go pop of The Golden Halfs, however, doesn't fall victim to the same limitations.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Zaitochi
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Extras are marginal, with the most vital being the two pages of liner notes from film critic Richard Kadrey explaining some of the history behind Nikkatsu and the Stray Cat Rock series. A couple of trailers and a Yasuharu Hasebe filmography are also included, with the disc itself is cut into 17 chapters, featuring optional English subtitles.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

More of a treat for the eyes than anything else, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter has all the trappings of retro 1970s kitsch—Japan style—and features a keen bad-girl performance from Meiko Kaji. The story goes flat in the middle, but Kaji kicks ass and takes names, in between a mix of go-go pop songs and broken bottles to the crotch.

 


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