Shot at the same time as the second film in the Stray Cat Rock series, Wild Jumbo, this third film has the return of director Yasuharu Hasebe. This time around, the Alleycats — led by Mako, played by series star Meiko Kaji — battle the male gang the Eagles. Look — any movie that starts with a girl versus girl knife and flashlight fight and a girl gang robbing a salaryman is worth watching.
When one of the Alleycats named Mari turns down the advances of the Eagle’s member Susumu and hooks up with a mixed-race guy named Ichiro, the gang’s leader Baron goes crazy. Turns out his sister was attacked by several mixed-race men, so he decides to take out anyone that isn’t purely Japanese. It also doesn’t help that Mako falls for another mixed race stranger.
Race relations were a big deal at the time in Japan, as many Japanese/American babies were being conceived. The film was shot near the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka and features the girl group Golden Half, whose five members all had Japanese mothers and gaijin fathers, which was their selling point.
From the first frame, I was happy to have Hasebe as the director. This is a cool, calculated film filled with violence and themes of male impotence and the actual melting pot of races producing a better future. Like all the Stray Cat films, the women are the strong ones, with men fighting to own and control them. But they just can’t — there’s no way they can tame them.
One question I have: were Jeeps really that big of a deal in 1970 Japan? These movies have more of them driving all over the place than any I’ve seen!