Playing at Fantasia Film Festival Aug 4, 2023
For tickets, please visit the link here.
Mad Cats is more than just another absurdist fantasy, and I rather enjoyed how it brought the Egyptian veneration of felis catus to a Japanese film. Here, a cult of cat-women are hell-bent on taking out a mega corporation. While the motives aren’t entirely clear, I would not question it. Although this micro-budget film didn’t go all out in the makeup department to make this villainous cast look feline, it’s easy to understand why they are completely human. If they don’t totally blend in, then to attack their targets would be a lot more problematic.
This group of warriors serve Bastet. And as for why they’re targeting Japanese pet shop owners is because of Mune Kurosawa (So Yamanaka) ticking off this Egyptian goddess. After locating the seat of her power and finding where she stashes her catnip, he’s caged up for his transgression.
The only way he can be saved is by his ne’er-do-well brother, Taka (Sho Mineo). This reluctant hero would not have known about the trouble until someone decides to send a message. Thankfully, he values family over everything else, and in true Trailer Park Boy fashion, bumbles his way to help–and perhaps save Japan too. But he can’t do it alone and two people help. Takezo (Yuya Matsuura) is a homeless man who offers his assistence, and the other is Ayane (Ayane), a rather quiet, mysterious woman who knows how to fight.
Mad Cats is one heck of a roller coaster ride of an action flick and a laugh out loud road trip movie at the same time. There are a few times when I believe writer/director Reiki Tsuno wanted to treat viewers to a full on Quinten Tarantino style fight. These femme felines are primed to slice and dice in Kill Bill fashion but don’t deliver the bloodshed in droves! Had this film been given a larger budget to hire a larger FX team and skilled martial artists over pretty faces, I’m sure what I’m imagining would be more bloody. These cultists can be fierce killers when properly provoked.
However, this movie isn’t simply about cats getting revenge upon a world. They’re only going after pet shop boys. Also, I’m surprised Sekhmet isn’t considered to be the main villain instead. She’s much fiercer than Bastet. In The Destruction of Mankind, she can’t be stopped at all until the gods spiked the rivers of blood with beer. After she drank from there, she was able to be placated.
Also, I couldn’t help but wonder about what other pop culture innuendos Tsuno is making. I’ve come to believe Taka is a Japanese version of Shaggy Rogers (Scooby-Doo) because of the way he acts when danger is near. Mineo is the perfect actor to play up the zoiks and comedy, and as for other hijinks, and he relationship to Ayane, it’s the purrfect way to close off any Midnight Movie festival screening.
4 Stars out of 5