Mad Cats Is a Wild, Unexpected Story [Fantasia Festival]

Mad Cats still of Takezo, played by Yûya Matsuura, and Taka, played by Shô Mineo, standing side by side holding guns.

Mad Cats is the weirdest film I’ve seen in a while. I could not look away because it’s ridiculous, with action and a lot of screaming. A young man has to rescue his kidnapped brother from a group of strung, feline women. The cats are no joke, with their feline antics yet deadly combat skills. Dramatic acting, great fight sequences, and a killer soundtrack save Mad Cats even when some comedy falls flat. 

Written and directed by Reiki Tsuno, the movie initially feels more like horror, as someone dies within the first few minutes. I like it because it feels like men succeed by chance, whereas women do by effort. Those these women are monster cats. Why cats have combat and martial arts experience is unclear. However, if you suspend the fact that the movie makes no sense, there are plenty of hilarious moments. 

Mad Cats Is Over-The-Top Action-Comedy

The comedy is apparent when Taka (Shô Mineo) comes on the scene. His reactions see-saw between dramatic and overly calm. Taka’s life is a dead end. He lives in a trailer and struggles to pay his rent. But life is about to change as he receives a cassette addressed to him. On it, a woman tells him where to rescue his brother. She also advises he steal a wooden box from the premises. Above all, he must avoid detection. 

Shô’s dramatic screams move between hilarious and annoying. However, you understand why he’s screaming. Sometimes his behavior didn’t work for me. Other castmates make up for where he misses the mark. The collection of women are dangerous and have no issue killing people. Mad Cats makes their appearances funny, too. When injured or caught off guard, they do not speak but make cat sounds, from growling to mews. Yûya Matsuura, playing Takezo, the homeless vagrant who winds up teaming up with Taka, is also comical. 

Surprisingly Great Fights

Mad Cats still of Takezo, played by Yûya Matsuura, and Taka, played by Shô Mineo, standing side by side holding guns.
Mad Cats still from Fantasia Festival.

The fight choreography is damn good. There are hand-to-hand fights, gunplay, and weapons like nunchakus and swords. The women, Asachill, Amanda B, Maari Iwata, and others, make it appear effortless. This includes Ayane (played by Ayane), who teams up with the men to rescue Taka’s brother. Mad Cats feels like a jarring mix of action and comedy genres, yet that jarring is what makes it work. Whether intentional or not, it makes fun of inane moments in films, like the characters not seeing the dangerous person smiling with a hatchet beside them. 

Music Adds To The Film

The music is catchy. Each song is a bop and left me looking for the pieces to add to my playlist. Also, the lyrics and all the women kicking ass makes Mad Cats more of a film showcasing women’s strength. Without Ayane’s help, the men would die early in the movie. I loved that most of the songs are independent rock and pop. It’s just another reason to enjoy the film. 

Mad Cats is a movie you’ll either love or hate. It’s ridiculous. The story is wild, and so many moments make you scream, “Don’t you see that.” But Mad Cats acknowledges this nonsense. I still cannot get over the scene with Taka’s brother toward the end. I could not stop laughing at that one. Mad Cats isn’t my usual film fare, but I enjoyed it. 

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