Following the success of Luc Besson’s seminal 1990 action thriller La Femme Nikita, filmmaker Stephen Shin wanted a piece of the action with a Hong Kong remake. And when he couldn’t secure the rights? Well, he did it anyway with Black Cat.
Jade Leung makes her acting debut as Catherine, a young woman who finds herself behind bars after killing a truck driver for assaulting her and unintentionally shooting one of the first responding police officers on the scene. After she is shot attempting to escape jail, she wakes up in a top secret facility where she has been implanted with a microchip and codenamed Black Cat. Offered the chance to atone for her sins by serving as a government assassin, Catherine embarks on a journey of rigorous training and ultimately an adventure of espionage and killing.
As Black Cat’s handler, Simon Yam delivers an excellent albeit understated performance and the chemistry between the two leads proves to be the film’s second-strongest asset – after, unsurprisingly, its action. Gritty and violent, and refreshingly light on the martial arts found in most of its contemporaries, Black Cat is packed with thrilling gunplay and magnificent tension that packs a hell of a punch.
There are some attempts at heart here – a subplot that sees Catherine’s relationship with a gentle birdwatcher (Thomas Lam) certainly lends some humanity to the otherwise dark and bloody tale. But we’re here for the intensity of the action which Shin shoots impeccably.
88 Films’ glorious new Limited Edition Blu-ray is an absolute delight, packing the film, artcards, poster and booklet into a beautiful rigid slipcase. The film looks and sounds magnificent and a generous offering of special features certainly sweetens the deal for fans of both the film and the genre.
Black Cat is a hidden gem in the Hong Kong action genre that will thrill fans and newcomers alike with its thrilling action and solid performances.