Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Movie Review: THE CAT (aka LAO MAO, 1992)

Directed by Ngai Choi Lam
Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Hong Kong novelist Wisely (Waise Lee ) relates his strangest true-life tale. An old man, a bimbo (Gloria Yip) and a cat are suspected in the theft of an ancient Chinese octagon. This trio is in fact from a faraway world under the thrall of “negative influences.” Said “influence” is a giant, floating blob that resembles the plastic vomit usually sold in novelty shops. Things blow up, people are killed and there is a big confrontation on a high rise building where the plastic vomit mutates into a gigantic, Claymation version of Sesame Street's Cookie Monster. In short, a story banged out by a six-year-old child with ADD after quaffing several energy drinks.


Watching The Cat reminded me that life is made up of lots and lots of little things. One can go to the best restaurant in the world, order its specialty meal in relaxing ambiance … but if one is stuck with a rude waitress, everything is for naught. Over the course of the meal, your mind wanders back time and again to the awful service.

Loofahs are an essential tool for your next spa treatment.

The Cat's main claim to fame is duel-to-the-death sequence between the titular feline and a bull mastiff in a junkyard. While this scene features laughable and obvious special effects, many shots feature the terrified kitty being repeated thrown into the air. This sequence ends with the hero forcibly slamming a trunk door on the cat's tail, cutting it off. While the decapitation isn't real, and the tail is soldered on by yet another chintzy special effect, the animal's distress here COULD NOT have been faked. A cat fancier, this blatant cruelty turned me off to what the rest of the film had to offer. 

I'll put a stop to this!

There is a lot of humor, intentional and otherwise, to be found in The Cat. The Girl from Outer Space, supposed to be pixie-ish and adorable, swiftly becomes grating and annoying. One classic scene has the hero dangling from the roof of a high-rise building by one arm. Our Intergalactic Bimbo says, “Give me your arm!” She grabs his other arm, places it over the ledge -- and then WALKS AWAY for him to pull himself up on to the roof, all by his lonesome.

Suzanne Sommers without makeup

The fact that dozens of innocent bystanders die horribly on account of the monster – precisely because the erstwhile heroine draws it out of hiding – is rather unnerving. Once the monster is put out of commission, space girl laughs and does a happy little dance, in spite of the many people who have died just minutes before previously.

Give me my goddam tail back!

There SHOULD be a lot to enjoy here. The terrible acting by the male lead, wearing an expression of noncommittal and indifference during scenes of mass slaughter, should have been funny. The many obvious steals from such films as The Thing (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), The Hidden (1988) and Brain Dead (aka Dead Alive) should have been witty. The crumbling and nonsensical storyline should have been a joy to behold – but ye reviewer's mind kept drifting back to the earlier cruelty to animals, and I just wasn't having any of it.

It's curtains for my career, that's for sure!

This very subject provided some lively debate on the IMDB Message Boards for the film. Actress Milla Jovovich in her audio commentary of Ultraviolet reportedly said that the animals used on the  set of the film were treated very badly. One wiseacre piped up to say that the mistreatment of animals in film was unwisely taking precedence over the starving masses. In a just and fair world, the producers of this film will be allowed to starve to death before they render any further injury on our four-legged friends. And, oh, yes, the director earlier helmed the classic gore comedy Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991).
I would like to contact my union rep, please?


  1. I love Riki-Oh, but I love cats more, so, thanks for the heads up, I'll probably pass on this one :(

  2. Kev. it's not as severe, I say The Cat is a must see!


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