Meiko KAJI is great, unfortunately not this film
Manfred Zeichmann | Austria | 10/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Meiko KAJI - wow! What an actress! While most western audiences are primarily familiar with her name because Quentin TARANTINO used two of her songs in his KILL BILL films, this great looking actress starred in the 1970ies in many top movies in her native Japan (best known are the two entries in the LADY SNOWBLOOD series and her outstanding FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION movies, two of which are available on US DVDs).
Alas, STRAY CAT ROCK: SEX HUNTER! is not the highlight the promotional blurb on the DVD cover wants us to believe.
KAJI is Mako, the leader of a gang of teenage girls. It goes without saying that she is cooler than cool in her broad rimmed black hat, and tough as nails to boot. The story starts with Mako and her friends mugging a middle aged guy they accuse of molesting one of them. Relaxing after the mugging and the subsequent shopping spree in their hang out bar (cue great music interlude with a girl band singing a cool 70ies easy listening song), a bickering among them leads to the requisite cat fight outside the club (here with flashlights and knives). Just as Mako's opponent has learned her lesson, we are introduced to the Eagles gang. They are a gang of male hooligans with Jeeps, led by a quiet and well read guy called the baron, who is rarely seen without a book (!). The Baron has a crush on Mako, but he appears to be impotent and suffers from a childhood trauma, as he had watched in horror the rape and murder of his sister at the hands of foreigners (presumeably US soldiers), causing a hatred of "half-breed" Japanese in his twisted mind. Mako meets Kazuma, a young (you guessed it: mixed-race) guy in search of his sister, who was adopted as a small child. Inevitably Mako and Kazuma fall in love. Meanwhile the Baron has declared war on all half-breeds, leading to all kind of troubles and mayhem carried out with molotov cocktails and rifles...
The problem with STRAY CAR ROCK: SEX HUNTER is in my view that it does not deliver what it promises. Sure, Meiko KAJI is great, as are the early 1970ies fashion styles and the soundtrack. Special credit must be given to the girl band THE GOLDEN HALFS, who perform several cool songs (the best of which is also played over the DVD main menue). Oh, and Meiko does some singing of her own.The film is also beautifully shot and presented here in its original aspect ratio of 2.35 :1 ("Nikkatsu-scope"). Unfortunately it is too little to save the film. The vast majority of 1970ies Japanese exploitation movies really deliver in the violence, sex and sleaze department and STRAY CAT ROCK: SEX HUNTER fails to do so. It is simply not violent and sexy enough.
Unfortunately the DVD does not provide too many extras. There is a filmography of director Yasuharu HASEBE (who also directed the first entry in the FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION series, a film vastly superior to this one), the STRAY CAT ROCK: SEX HUNTER trailer (which is rather good), a trailer for the ZATOICHI film series DVDs and liner notes. The liner notes offer only a plot synopsis, a brief introduction to the history of NIKKATSU film studio (who produced STRAY CAT ROCK) and some interesting asides on the GOLDEN HALFs, the girl group in the film.There is also a reproduction of the original poster artwork of the film.
All in all this DVD is surely not a waste of your time, although I would recommend a rental."
Meiko sings LIVE! A must for Fans of her Music! Great Film!
Tim Blasko | Hannover, Germany | 04/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the ONLY English - Subtitled Meiko Kaji DVD where you can see her singing LIVE. Yes, many of her movies do contain a theme song that is sung by herself (like in the Female Prisoner Scorpion DVDs or on the Wandering Ginza Butterfly Movies), but none of them are performed live by Meiko. What a great joy it was for me to see her sing this awesome acapella duett featuring her male companion in the film. Fans of Meiko's Music (who maybe own her Best of CD avaible on Amazon.com) must defnitely check out this short but very memorable singing scene near the end of the movie. Simply wonderful! Highly recommended!
If you are one of those people who are into Japanese Sexploitation DVDs, i must warn you: don't be fooled by the title of this Movie. This DVD is rather a Drama than a Pinky Violence flick. Instead of a sex scene every 10 minutes (like in the Nikkatsu P.V. films from 1972 to 1982) you get much better entertainment here: Catfights, gangster battles, a half-japanese girl group called "The golden halfs" performing very fine J-Pop songs and many more. Yes, the film has some little flaws, but they don't hurt the story at all. The final scene where Meiko is just turning her head so that her hat becomes the center of the screen is as simple as it is brilliant.
This DVD is a MUST - Have for any REAL Meiko Kaji Fan.
P.S.: If the other 4 movies of the Stray Cat Rock Series are of that same quality, then i can't believe that nobody put them on DVD yet. HVE Entertainment or any other DVD company: PLEASE, release them soon!"