Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss

Title: Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Released: 1970
Starring: Akiko Wada, Meiko Kaji, Koji Wada, Bunjaku Han, Yuka Kemari, Hanako Tokachi, Yuko Shimazu, Yuka Ohashi, Miki Yanagi, Toshimitsu Shima, George Fujita, Ken Sanders, Tatsuya Fuji, Yosui Inoue

Plot: When tough girl biker Ako (Wada) randomly gives Mei (Kaji) the leader of the all-girl gang “The Stray Cats” a ride she soon finds herself recruited to join their ranks. Meanwhile Mei’s boyfriend Michio (Wada) is trying to join the right-wing nationalist group “The Seiyu Group” who in turn are soon set on a collision course with the Stray Cats when they unwittingly interfere in the outcome of a fixed boxing match.

Review: The first film in the “Stray Cat Rock” or “Alley Cat Rock” series of films created originally by Nikkatsu studios to rival Toei Studios “Delinquent Boss” series, while at the same time drawing inspiration from the Roger Corman biker movies like “The Wild Angels”. At the same time the studio bosses were keen to cash in Wada’s popularity as a singer, only for her co-star Meiko Kaji to become the bigger draw and turning the four films which followed into a vehicle for her talent while at the same time forming the start of her legacy as one of the cinema’s toughest leading ladies. More so when she followed the series with both the “Female Convict Scorpion” and “Lady Snowblood” series of films which she made with Toei studios after Nikkatsu studios moved into making films for the “Pink film” market following the end of the Stray Cat series, even developing their own brand of these films branded “Roman Porno” which combined scenes of softcore pornography, S&M and graphic violence.

It is quite a shame that Wada didn’t return to the series as here she is effortlessly cool as the tough biker Ako and more so perhaps because of her largely androgynous style which sees her frequently being mistaken for a man, especially when she’s in her biker gear, that she lost some of her appear especially when placed alongside the more feminine styled Kaji. The styling of the characters throughout the film though ensures that the film has a real time capsule feel, even more so with its psych-rock soundtrack.

Fans of tough ladies though will find much to enjoy here, as the members of the Stray Cats are unquestionably more than capable of holding their own in a fight, as we see right from the start as they find themselves in a knife fight against a rival girl gang while soon seeing off the rival gang’s boyfriend’s aswell! While the levels of violence here might not be nowhere near what we would see with the later films in Kaji’s career especially when compared to the likes of the “Female Convict Scorpion” series but the sporadic moments we get here are still highly effective.
The pacing is for the most part kept pretty tight with the whole film unfolding over the course of two days, with helpful flashing cue cards helping to highlight the passage of time while the plot itself is kept for the most part is quite straightforward and typical exploitation fare and more about the lead up to the final showdown between the Stray Cats and The Seiyu Group which takes the form of a madcap chase motorcycle chase sequence which soon becomes more about director Hasebe trying to find ever more random locations to take the chase scene through as Gang boss Katsuya (Fuji) chases after Ako in his dune buggy. A dune buggy it would seem that has no difficulty getting through narrow corridors, driving through shopping malls or even going up and down numerous flights of stairs.

On the downside the group remain largely undeveloped outside of Ako and Mei with the others members not getting anything in the way of development much like the members of the Seiyu who are essentially just a bunch of goons to be dispatched. Not that this matters much of course seeing how the film largely at times feels like  a collection of interesting scenes loosely strung together with simplistic plotting and occasional bursts of ultra violence but it still makes for an entertaining watch, especially with the fun chase finale let alone the groovy soundtrack which surprisingly doesn't date the film in a particularly bad way. Still if your a fan of feisty females or looking for a light entry point to the Pinky Violence genre then this could be it.


  1. I saw the first Stray Cat Rock feature but had no idea there was a sequel. I will haft to look out for this one. I only saw a few of the Pinky Violence movies so far. Female Convict Scorpion and Lady Snowblood are others I need to seek out soon. Great post

  2. Yep there is another four films in the series which I will review when I get chance to watch them as Arrow films have just recently released a boxset of the whole series.


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