Cat's Eye > Live-action movies

Beside the manga and anime series, a number of less successful live-action movies (i.e. with real actors) was produced. James Maruyama has a look at the video movie published in 1997 and tells us if watching it is worth the trouble.


Cat's Eye TV Special (1988)

Saturday TV Drama Special produced by NTV (Nippon TV), aired July 23, 1988 - 7:00 p.m.
Cast:
Hitomi Kisugi: Yu Hayami
Rui Kisugi: MIE
Ai Kisugi: Risa Tachibana

Plot Summary:

No review is available yet. Feel free to contact me if you want to write a review.


Cat's Eye Video Movie (1997)

Produced by Fuji TV & Burning Productions
Cast:
Hitomi Kisugi: Izumi Inamori
Rui Kisugi: Norika Fujiwara
Ai Kisugi: Uchida Uki
Toshio Utsumi: Norita Harada

Plot Summary by James Maruyama:

A trio of sisters try to steal back the artwork of their artist father in an attempt to uncover clues to his mysterious disappearance. During the course of their escapades they must not only deal with a mysterious Chinese Syndicate who is also trying to steal the artwork, but also a persistent Police Inspector who also happens to be the lover of the middle sister, Hitomi.

Ai also meets up and falls in love with a brilliant computer science student from Hong Kong. Little does she realize that he is the son of the Chinese Syndicate's female leader, a sadistic and ruthless boss who believes herself to be a modern day Chinese Empress Dowager. The son is also the syndicate's top assassin and he is dispatched to kill Cat's Eye and prevent them from getting the artwork.

Hitomi is also faced with a personal dilemma, Toshio proposes to her but only on the condition that once he captures Cat's Eye he will then marry her and give up active police duty. To deal with the new threat of the Chinese Syndicate gets help from Mitsuko Asatani, a member of InterPol who is on their trail.

Hitomi, Ai and Rui discover that their father is being held up in a Chinese Restaurant outside of Tokyo. The sisters break into the restaurant and finally reunite with their father. Their joy is short-lived however when they soon discover that their father was not really kidnapped but was rather recruited and eventually became the leader the organization.

The Chinese Syndicate launch an assault on a mobster's Island Fortress, to get the last art piece they are needing. Toshio and Mitsuko follow in pursuit. Cat's Eye make a daring escape from the holding cell they have been jailed in and make their way to the Fortress. During the three way battle over the artwork, the father attempts an escape by helicopter but is shot down by a stray missile. The evil Empress is killed when her own son attempts to stop her from escaping. He dies as well in Ai's arms. Cat's Eye escapes with the artwork and mourn the death of their father. The father is never confirmed dead.

Confused? You're not alone. This mixed matched piece of work was all flash and no substance. The movie fails to live up to or capture any of the elements which made the original manga and the anime so good. The movie was merely an artistic exercise, copying elements and styles from "Batman" and "Blade Runner".

One of the most notable and confusing discrepancies from the manga and anime is that Michael Heintz is not German but rather a Chinese Artist who is secretly the head of a Chinese Drug and Crime cartel. He was abducted by this syndicate when Ai was just a baby and Rui and Hitomi were very small. The mother, who was Japanese, was killed in flashback. This doesn't really make sense at all. Why would the father join the very organization that killed his wife? Why would he willingly side with them and conspire with them to steal his own artwork?

Don't get me wrong, the trio of actresses Izumi Inamori, Norika Fujiwara, and Uchida Uki are very nice to look at especially when they strut around in their shiny black PVC suits but aside from that they don't really bring anything new to the story. Only Uchida Uki is great as Ai, playing her as a spunky, "tom-boy" and computer whiz who loves riding her motorcycle and scratch building the neat gizmos and gadgets used by the sisters. Norita Harada is terrible as Toshio, playing him as an idiot who goes around with long hair and throwing baseballs at people who irritate him like his boss. Ken Kosugi (son of Action Star Sho Kosugi) is also terrible as the crime boss son, although he does show off some of his acrobatic and martial arts skills in the movie.

Ultimately, however the movie is a pale and unnecessary addition to the Cat's Eye franchise and if easily forgettable. There is a neat animation segment in the beginning which is so much more better than the live action movie which it precedes. If only the producers had stuck with an all animated movie then that would have been something.

ANRI who sang the original Cat's Eye Animation Theme was called back to do a new Cat's Eye Theme for the movie.