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Every 50 years a cat demon has to be killed by a Cheung family member
until the body-hopping feline demon's 9 lives are up. This time it
falls on the shoulders of Master Cheung (Chia-Liang Liu). He is afraid
of cancer killing him before he can stop the demonic force, so when
Long (Mark Cheng) comes to him after his boss (Staurt Ong) gets
possessed, he tries teaching him his family's Mao Shan magic hoping to
pass it onto him since Cheung's bloodline stops with himself. "Evil
Cat" is just pure schlocky fun and a nice way to spend a rainy
afternoon. A lot of people seem to have issues with Writer Jing Wong
and accuse him of just being a hack, recycling Hollywood films, and
blah blah blah. Who cares he makes pretty good films ("Magnificent
Butcher", "Seventh Curse", "Ghost Snathers", "Royal Tramp", "The Duel"
as well as numerous others are still all highly enjoyable) I could give
a toss if they're derivative.
My Grade: B-
DVD Extras: Just a Theatrical Trailer (that gives away WAY too much DON'T watch it before the film itself)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Evil Cat is a nice horror/action hybrid from Hong Kong directed by
Dennis Yu (The Imp, Flesh And The Bloody Terror) and written by Jing
Wong (The Seventh Curse, Dreadnaught, Naked Killer). Ultimately, it is
not quite as satisfying as some other genre faves like Heroic Trio or
Holy Virgin Vs. The Evil Dead but it doesn't hit the same stumbling
blocks as those two gems either.
Cheetara from the Thundercats has been getting strung out lately on speedballs and looks quite the scraggly mess at times. Every fifty years, this feline demon pops out of its hole in the ground to do wire fu battle with a male member of the family who serves as protectors for the world against the thing. Master Cheung is that guy this time around and he's in bad shape with cancer and he's the last male in the family. He recruits Ah Long into the family so together they can battle the body-hopping feline spirit with three arrows (or "bows" if you go by the ass-backward non-logic of the typo-filled subtitles) made of a rare metal which is the only thing that can kill the kitty. Along the way, there are plenty of hard-hitting kung fu dust-ups as well as some passable gore and special effects and a lot of briskly-paced action sequences and neato fight choreography to keep you in your seat.
Overall, this was a decent film. Evil Cat lacks the strong gore and nudity of other HK horrors but it does't rely too much on wacky slapstick, which is a good thing as it works better as straightforward horror and is substantially less cheesy than a lot of Asian crap cinema (but still plenty cheesy by the opinions of most). It's not the best Hong Kong horror flick I've seen but it is a bizarro cult film that fans of B-grade Asian trash like The Eternal Evil of Asia will enjoy. 6/10.
P.S. At one point the subtitles read: "Yesterday he snatched and ate a crap nearby the pool." Ha ha.
Dennis Yu's filmography includes films like the pretty unknown (and rare
its fully uncut version) rape and revenge shocker THE BEASTS aka FLESH AND
THE BLOODY TERROR (1980) and the more traditional ghost story THE IMP
(1981). His EVIL CAT (1986) is written by the exploitation king and money
maker Wong Jing and fortunately he hasn't managed to destroy the film and
is easily among the better films of Yu.
The veteran Hong Kong director and actor Lau Kar Leung plays Master Cheung who suffers from cancer. His ancestors have told him that a deadly and evil cat demon possesses their family and the world and that it has nine lives and has to be killed by every new son in the generation until all the "lives" have been killed. The demon is now some 400 years old. Cheung however doesn't have a son, just a beautiful reporter daughter played by Lai-Ying Tang. She gets to know Long (played by Mark Cheng, the psychopath in Ivan Lai's sleaze fest PEEPING TOM (1997)) and soon her father decides to teach Long how to kill the cat once and for all. They get also a police inspector Wu's interest because their magic spells and other strange goings-on don't necessarily obey the law and be completely harmless all the time. Wu is played by Wong Jing himself and he is also the only irritating character in the film and still he could be much worse. What I'm trying to say is that the film isn't nearly as "comical" and full of slapstick it could be when Wong was involved in it and that is a huge positive thing.
The film is nicely atmospheric and has great and simple effects that work the better the more viewer understands the genre and its merits. The film also has surprisingly strong lead characters (Long and the daughter) and so they are closer to real and feeling people, not just empty characters. The dialogue is pretty bad like usually in these films, but it is easy to be forgiven since the real merits can be found elsewhere in the film. Still these films would be so much more if they just wanted to make better scripts and concentrate more on the dialogue and characters in general, too.
EVIL CAT is also surprisingly straight forward film and never becomes boring or slow. It has plenty of action, spells and other horror mayhem and also some gore that gets also nearly surrealistic in some cases. The "lift massacre" is a good example of that and looks little like the similar effect in Kubrick's THE SHINING (1980). EVIL CAT is a sympathetic and pretty likeable horror film that knows its limits and never tries to reach too high goal. 8/10
Here we go again with another look at those off the wall films that are
out there in the world. Boy do I have one for you today. It is a
Chinese film titled Evil Cat. With a name like this your thinking what
is it Morris the Cat going crazy killing people. Actually no in fact
its more or less about a Demon that looks like a Thundercat (really
cheap Thundercat) that needs to kill enough people as it jumps into
human bodies to do this. The more kills the stronger it gets and it
eventually will be able to take its true form and destroy the
world...or something like that.
The movie starts off showing us a discovery of the chamber where the demon has been hidden then we flash to a man who we find out later is chartered to destroy the beast. His family has been doing it for centuries and have killed it 8 times one more kill is the last and the beast will be destroyed forever (note 9 lives like a cat). From there we have a "cat and mouse" game between the old man, the demon and a guy he has chosen to help him defeat the demon.
The problem I had with this film is it tries to be too many genres at once. One minute its a comedy, next it is action then in the finale tries to shift back to horror. For the most part it does not work and the few cool scenes that are in it become diminished when it goes Helter Skelter and tries to be one of the other genres mentioned again. The sad thing is it does not do any of the things it tries to do very well and despite what could have been a very interesting premise turns into a barely recommendable outing.
Lastly the ending itself would have been interesting if it would not have been for the tone set earlier in this film. What can I say, I wanted to like this film but cannot recommend this as a movie to run out and get a copy of. Instead it is mildly entertaining due to a few cool set pieces but otherwise falls a little flat.
5/10 Mildly recommend. If you know someone who has a copy or you can get it rather easily give it a look, otherwise if it seems like a feudal quest to find this film don't worry your not missing greatness just mediocrity.
To my knowledge this has not had a stateside release so finding it outside of importing or booting may be your only option. The copy I watched appeared to be from a foreign DVD. The subs were OK as far as translation but they ran by the screen so fast at times it gave me a headache. Unless you can speed read the subs you may have to pause the movie every couple seconds to read the screen which is annoying. I however cannot do that as it breaks up the flow of the film to me.
You will get the general idea if you can at least read a few words in the sub at a time but otherwise if you cannot read quickly, may get lost. Whoever put the subs on this film obviously did not have to worry about reading them that is for sure! That's it for now pygmies until next time PEACE!!
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