Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter
(Nora-neko rokku: Sekkusu hanta) (1970)
Directed by Yasuharu Hasebe

Artistic & Entertainment Value: * * * ½

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When the tough but beautiful Mako (Meiko Kaji), the leader of a gang of young delinquent women, befriends a man of mixed race, she soon finds herself involved in a conflict with a gang of men headed by the racist Baron (Tatsuya Fuji), who is determined to chase every 'halfbreed' out of town.

Yasuharu Hasebe's Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter is an entertaining if fairly mediocre film.


The director's presentation of his heroines' various misadventures is nicely done. I did enjoy watching the characters' posturing, their attempts to appear tough in front of one another, the fights ensuing from such actions, the bonds many of them are shown to share, and their efforts to survive when virtually all of them, for one reason are another, live on the fringes of society. Hasebe's portrayal of racism among Japan's lower classes is especially nicely done. The viewer is sure to feel the animosity of those who despise persons who are different from themselves as well as the sufferings of those who are so stigmatized and reviled. Although none of the events included in the narrative are depicted with great skill, they are still realized with enough talent so that the viewer is likely to enjoy watching them.

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While all of these elements are appealing, some of the film's best scenes are those in which the characters visit some club or another so that the director can show various women dancing to the music being played by a rock band. Theses sequences, which are often filmed from odd angles and are bathed with various colored lights, are alive with a wonderful vivacity, a great sense of fun, and a genuine sexiness. They are tremendously enjoyable.


That said, the film is generally pedestrian, visually and narratively. Though it is always engaging, there is nothing in it that is especially noteworthy. It is, essentially, a fairly conventional drama about marginalized young persons with some good musical numbers and a few rather forgettable fights thrown in.


While I cannot say that I was ever truly impressed by the movie, I was never bored with it, either. Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter is fun to watch; there just is not anything special about it.

Review by Keith Allen

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