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  Cat, The Frightful feline from outer space!
Year: 1992
Director: Nam Nai Choi
Stars: Waise Lee, Gloria Yip, Christine Ng, Philip Kwok Chung Fung, Lau Sek Yin
Genre: Horror, Action, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Arguably, the craziest, Chinese science fiction movie ever made (which is saying something), The Cat is packed full of jaw-dropping weirdness. It begins with strange noises overheard by portly Li Tung, who is worried about his creepy neighbours: a spooky old man (Lau Sek Yin), a mysterious, young girl (Gloria Yip), and the titular, otherworldly feline. He sneaks inside their abandoned apartment and discovers a mess of entrails, which Wang (Philip Kwok Chung Fung) - his jovial, cop buddy - claims are not human. Tung and Wang consult their old friend Wisely (Waise Lee - no relation), playboy, scholar, adventurer and expert on all things paranormal. “That girl and her cat look like characters from Greek mythology”, claims Li Tung. Which is enough to persuade Wisely. “I’m convinced they’ve come from beyond the stars”, he muses.

Meanwhile, some pulsating, radioactive, alien goop arrives from outer space. It possesses an unfortunate tramp then goes on a killing spree. Since the cat, girl and old man were sighted near several museum raids, the clueless cops pin them for the murders. A canine loving eccentric lends Wisely his fiercest attack dog, Lao Pu. Alongside the cops, they stakeout the next museum. Sure enough, cosmic cat strikes again, literally flying away with a stolen artefact (He leaves a cat-shaped hole in the window). There follows an incredible, slow motion, kung fu tussle between Lao Pu and the alien kitty, with acrobatic leaps, kicks and tumbles. Mixing trained animals, split-second puppetry and stop-motion animation; it’s a flabbergasting sight, captured in pouncing “cat-cam” photography. Of course the super-strong, super-fast kitty and its young mistress turn out to be good guys - alien visitors hoping to save mankind from the evil Star Killer. The slimy goop grows into an impressively realised mass of slathering tentacles and possesses Wang, while Wisely and co. search for the ancient super-weapon able to destroy it.

Changing tone every five minutes, The Cat goes from Disney-esque whimsy (reminiscent of The Cat from Outer Space (1978)), to sexploitation (lingering, sweaty close-ups on Wisely’s girlfriend (Christine Ng)), Terminator-style action (after scoring weapons, Wang murders the arms dealer, just like Arnie did), and graphic horror. Melting faces, bodies torn to shreds, and the stomach churning appearance of the Lovecraftian, Star Killer will delight gore fans. In short, it’s everything lovable about Hong Kong cinema.

It’s ironic that a fictional sci-fi writer became a popular, reoccurring character in Hong Kong genre cinema. Wai Si Lei was created by prolific pulp author Ngai Hong. The character first reached the silver screen with the iconic Chow Yun-Fat as dashing, pipe smoking Mr. Wei, alongside an all-star cast and a cameo from Hong, in Nam Nai Choi’s spectacular, supernatural horror The Seventh Curse (1987). Later that year Sam Hui played the role, rechristened Wisely, in the science fiction tinged Legend of Wisely. Bury Me High (1991) downplayed fantastical elements in favour of fast, furious action, while after The Cat came Young Wisely (1993), before Andy Lau resurrected the hero - renamed once more - in the mega-budget disaster, The Wesley’s Mysterious File (2002).
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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