Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 24th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1970
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Writers: Yasuharu Hasebe, Atsushi Yamatoya
Cast: Meiko Kaji , Nobuko Aoki, Tatsuya Fuji, Mie Hanabusa
DVD Released: June 22nd, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Home Vision
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The backdrop behind this Stray Cat film revolves around half-breeds (half Japanese/half something else). Kazuma a half breed comes to town in search of his lost sister Megumi who he hasn’t seen since she was adopted by Mama Blues. Mako (Meiko Kaji), is a leader of an all girl gang and she is in love with the Baron leader of his own gang the Eagles. When Mako forms a relationship with Kazuma, The Baron’s hatred dates back to when his sister was raped by a half breed. The Baron becomes jealous and beats him near death and offers him one last chance to leave town. Mako helps nurse Kazuma back to health as she grows closer to him and she helps him try to find his lost sister. Kazuma makes a deal with The Baron he will leave town if The Baron and his gang help him find his sister. The Baron is irritated that Mako and her gang have been helping the half breed Kazuma so The Baron unknown to the girls invites them to a party where he has sold them off as sex toys.
Sex Hunter is the third film in the Stray Cat series which ran for five films. Meiko Kaji is a goddess of vengeance who starred in (Stray Cat Rock, Female Convict Scorpion, and Lady Snowblood), in which she played anti-hero’s who would kill just as quickly with her blade as her stunning beauty would tame them for her bidding. Yasuharu Hasebe who directed Meiko Kaji in most of the Stray Cat films would go on to direct her in Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701’s Grudge Song which would also mark her final appearance as Matsu (The Scorpion).
Music is important facet to Stray Cat Rock Sex Hunter, the popular music group The Golden Halves provides music in between the free form jazz music cues. Like Seijun Suzuki, Yasuharu Hasebe has a strong visual sense that includes inventive direction and vivid colors schemes. The plot may appear half baked still the story is easy to digest and they is never a dull as the script is filled with colorful characters. Although most of the acting is atypical Meiko Kaji who plays Mako has already taken on the anti-hero persona she is most known for as she looks comfortable in her role.
Stray Cat Rock Sex Hunter is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, with a 16:9 anamorphic transfer. The image is sharp and the colors are a tad muted. The night scenes and dark interiors exhibit quite a bit of grain still the transfer is right up there with most of American Cinematheque’s releases.
The only audio option on this DVD is the original Japanese Mono track and the sound is sufficient as all the action and dialog are easy to hear. The subtitles are easy to read and follow.
Extras included filmography for director Yasuharu Hasebe, the trailer, and the insightful liner notes by film critic Richard Kadrey. Other extras include a Zatoichi Collection promo trailer. Overall Stray Cat Rock Sex Hunter is an adrenalin ride and what it lacks in deeper meaning it more then makes up for in spades in its pulp sensibilities. There seems to be more and more classic Japanese cinema making its way to America these days and should rejoice that another cult classic Stray Cat Rock Sex Hunter is now available on DVD.