Written by: George Pacheco on March 19th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: March, 1984
Directors: Victor Ordonez, Ed Palmos, Al Valetta
Writer: Robert Waters
Cast: Karin Mani, Robert Torti, Michael Wayne
DVD Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Approximate Running Time: 84 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Encoding: All Region
Retail Price: $19.95
Alley Cat is a relatively obscure 80s action title which ingratiates itself as a sort of female-focused riff on the Death Wish-inspired vigilante genre, outfitted with a suitable amount of sleaze for good measure.
At the center of the film is actress Karin Mani, who enjoyed a brief career in television before embarking upon an even shorter journey into cinema. Although Mani’s abilities as an actress come across as stiff and a bit limited here in this picture, her performance is serviceable enough to transfer some personality into her character of Billie, a tough-as-nails young lady whose grandparents are robbed and attacked by a gang of thugs.
The leader of the gang is Scarface, an unsavory sort of character played with over-the-top glee by Michael Wayne, while his underlings are the sort of rugged, faceless heavies who typically populate these exercises in 80s action excess. Robert Torti plays Johnny, a kind hearted cop who takes a shine to Billie’s case (and her heart), supporting her fight against Scarface and his cronies at every step of the way.
Granted, all of these plot points have come and gone amongst a countless amount of similar films, and it’s Mani who’s left to shoulder most of the film on her shoulders. The actress’ dark, exotic facial features and striking physical attributes are a clear focal point for the audience—this is an exploitation picture, after all, with Mani’s sex appeal standing front and center—and this visual is certainly one of the reasons why Alley Cat is seeing re-release here in 2013, rather than simply falling into obscurity.
Still, the film’s quick pacing and comforting adherence to the 80s action film milieu belies its scatterbrained lack of creative focus—it was directed by no less than three different people, which is never a good sign in the movie world—and ensures Alley Cat an audience almost thirty years later as a rough ‘n ready revenge tale with a supremely sexy leading lady.
Scorpion Releasing has released Alley Cat in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Both sound and picture are exception throughout for such a relatively rare 80s action flick. Extras include a trailer show (including the film’s original trailer), as well as an interview with producer, technician and musician Igo Kantor, whose sharp memory and warm, charming demeanor makes him a great feature for this latest edition of Scorpion’s Kat Scratch Cinema. Kantor is a legend in the industry—having been involved with artists as varied as Ed Wood, Jane Fonda and Russ Meyer—and, as such, is in no shortage of some truly great stories about his time spent in the movies.
Kantor was only involved in the post-production work for Alley Cat—a film which was simply purchased, not financed, by Film Ventures International as a finished picture for distribution—so his feature with hostess Katrina Waters offers no further insight into the film or its cast and crew. Luckily, Kantor has plenty to say in response to Waters’ basic “tell us about” line of questioning, detailing his work as producer, editor, and composer from the fifties, all the way through the present day.
Between audio/video quality and extras, Alley Cat receives nothing less than a fantastic presentation from Scorpion Releasing.