Black Cat in Jail

I am not sure if the producers of this film had the legal rights to the Black Cat trademark, but if not they should be sued. Hell, even if they do have legal rights to the name they should be sued by someone – a class action suit by angry Black Cat fans. They defanged the Cat and they should pay! What could have possessed them to do so is beyond me – perhaps just a sign of these kindler, gentler times.

Black Cat came out in 1991 and made Jade Leung a star and then was followed up with Black Cat II in 1992, which was a bit of a disaster. Jade Leung’s career has sort of continued along those bumpy lines ever since – the occasional good film, followed by some low budget piece of dreck. Over the past couple of years her film output has slowed down to a mere trickle and she is primarily occupied now with Television work.

As bad as Black Cat II is, this film is even worse. Perhaps I shouldn’t say worse – it is just so different from what you might expect from a Black Cat film. There is very little action as the film devolves into a female bonding drama. I prefer Black Cat killing people by the scores, slicing the odd throat or two and generally being a killing machine – a very elegant and beautiful killing machine mind you. Here Black Cat goes mellow and even decides that killing is not really a good thing! What’s going on here?
It begins in fine fashion though – which made the follow through all the more disappointing. Black Cat is still an assassin and in the opening scene her handler – Vincent Wan – guides her through a hit on a number of gangsters. Jade (looking fabulous in sunglasses and dressed in black) blows away a bunch of them, but accidentally knocks a boy off of a rooftop building. Now the old Jade would have let him go splat on the pavement down below, but this new version of Black Cat saves him which allows the cops to arrest her. Black Cat goes to jail – don’t pass go.

Of course a women prison movie offers all sorts of exploitive possibilities for someone with Black Cat’s resume – some good female gang warfare, a few hits, brutality from the guards, a prison break – all that good stuff that most films in this genre have. Uh-uh. Instead Jade begins to bond with her prison mates – and the film actually spends a fair amount of time showing why these women are here and developing their characters – all to the detriment of any action whatsoever. Jade decides that she actually likes being in prison because she doesn’t have to kill and she has such nice friends! What were these filmmakers thinking?

Jade and Teresa Mak
Teresa Mak – who looks like Carina Lau to me – does a nice job as one of the friends and Catherine Hung – Charmy in Wing Chun! – has a role as the mistress of  the husband of one of Jade’s new friends.

My rating for this film: 5.0 (and only that high because I like Jade Leung!)