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Recently seen movies #76

August 8, 2008

Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (Japan, 1970) – 4/5

Girl gang swing is back – to some extent at least – in the third Stray Cat Rock film which is considered the best in the series by many. After Toshiya Fujita’s youth oriented Wild Jumbo Yasuharu Hasebe returns the series closer to its origins. The title – Sex Hunter – is of course a marketing gimmic by the Nikkatsu Studios – there are no sex hunters in the film. Instead the storyline is about half-breed Japanese man (Rikiya Yasuoka before he gained weight) caught up between a violent racist gang (Tatsuya Fuji back in a villain role) and a group of tough girls (led by Meiko Kaji). It was quite rare to have such strong and critical racism theme in a Japanese mainstream film in the early 70’s. Furthermore, a large portion of the music heard in Sex Hunter is performed by the girl band Golden Half, which consisted of five members who all had American father and Japanese mother. The music and club scenes create good contrast for the heavier content. For Meiko Kaji Sex Hunter was the first Stray Cat Rock movie in which she played the central character. Kaji’s performance is not among her best, but the character is surprisingly unsympathetic, making it more interesting, or at least original, than many other sukeban heroines. Bunjaku Han, who appears in all other films in the series, is sadly absent from the cast.

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