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Thematically interesting, but as a piece of entertainment it's often dull
In the first of what would become a successful five-film series, Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss is a passable and sporadically entertaining introduction to the 'girl gang' genre and one of the key entries in a series of films known as 'pinky violence'. Anchored by a performance of undeniable presence by Akiko Wada, who plays a no- nonsense biker and who surprisingly didn't appear in any of the sequels, the film gets bogged down by a plodding series of events and set-pieces that are too free-spirited for it's own good, and lingers far too long on various pop performances from flavour-of-the-week bands.
Plot-wise, the film doesn't have much going for it. Ako (Wada) is a drifter who picks up Mei (Meiko Kaji - later to play the eponymous Lady Snowblood (1973)), who is caught up in a beef with a rival girl gang. A fight ensues, and Ako chases away the gang and the various yakuza that have gathered for the entertainment. It becomes apparent that Mei's boyfriend Michio (Koji Wada) is caught up in a plot with the Seiyu Group, a powerful Yakuza organisation, to throw a boxing match. Naturally, things don't go quite to plan and Michio is hunted by the Seiyu Group, but not if Ako has anything to say about it.
Visually, the film is often splendid, using ultra-chic locations, split- screens and obscure camera angles that give it a trippy aesthetic. It's colourful yet undeniably grim, encapsulating the rebellious hippy spirit that undoubtedly made it's way over from America in the late 1960's. Reversing the usual gender roles, the Stray Cat girls are a rather repulsive lot, even though they plays our heroes, and Ako especially berates men for being weak if they refuse to stand up and fight, even when one is beaten to a pulp during a boxing match. It's certainly interesting thematically, but as a piece of entertainment, it's often extremely dull, stretching out it's wafer-thin plot when it should be giving us girls kicking ass.
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