director Yasuharu Hasebe
It’s Akiko Wada who dominates Alleycat Rock: Female Boss, first flick in Nikkatsu studio’s girl biker gang film series, pumped out in quick succession in 1970-1971. Wada is the tall, 5’8″, semi-androgynous, semi-sexually vague biker gal/throaty singer, who tangles first with one of two rival low-level yakuza gangs from the seat of her motorbike.
She casts an interesting figure in the hands of Yasukaru Hasebe, the same director who would film episodes #3 Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (1970) and #4 Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal (1970). Hasebe strives to capture the vibe of the time and place, swinging his camera around with drunken frenzy inside the nightclub where a variety of bad to sometime almost good 1960’s style Japanese bands try their hand at psychedelic pop and rock.
Ultimately, it’s Meiko Kaji, who starred throughout the series and then on into better pictures in the Female Convict Scorpion series and later Lady Snowblood films. I say later but all of this stuff came flying out in a period of only five years.
Hasebe jumps into topics like sex and violence and youth culture, the music, the vibes, the intermingling races, painting a picture of changing Japan. But he’s not a master behind the camera and his films tend at best to be “interesting” if not flat out good.
I’d say the same here, but that Wada is an interesting and ambiguous figure as played out in Alleycat Rock: Female Boss, whatever that title is supposed to mean.