Plot: George (Peter Weller) has a laid back lifestyle, running a small motel in tropical Pompano Beach, Florida. But while his current days are sunny, he has memories of darker times and his stint in the Dominican Republic, where he was a soldier during the U.S. invasion. On a patrol, he was nearly killed, but a young woman saved his life and years later, he plans to return to track her down. Meanwhile, a new arrival at the motel named Nolan (Frederic Forrest) also happens to be a veteran of that invasion, which sparks a bond between the two men. George’s trip back to the Dominican Republic starts off by placing an ad looking for the woman who saved him, but he also runs into an old flame Mary (Kelly McGillis), who has wed a sadistic former general (Tomas Milian) who she plans to divorce. As George gets pulled into this tenuous situation, it becomes known that two million dollars is at the core of the divorce, which draws out a lot of people who want to claim the cash.
Entertainment Value: This erotic thriller from Abel Ferrara has strong film noir vibes, a good cast, and some bizarre moments, all of which combine to craft an unusual, but fun to watch movie. The narrative is straight forward, despite some twists thrown in, so while there are a lot of moving pieces involved here, the plot isn’t as convoluted as some in the genre. That’s not to call Cat Chaser predictable, but it doesn’t lean on twists and reveals as most thrillers of this kind. The focus tends to be on characters and there are a number of them in the mix here, but the movie is able to corral them all well and keep the film focused, at least in most scenes. The pace is deliberate, but that’s more or less required, as there is a good deal of exposition and development present, which needs that time investment. But I would consider this more of a slow burn than just slow, with an uptick in pace once the core elements are established. There’s some sleaze, some violence, and some odd moments, which give Cat Chaser kind of a b movie feel, but in the best possible sense. I found this to be a capable, interesting thriller throughout, so Cat Chaser earns a solid recommendation.
I like the cast of this one, but not just who was chosen to be involved, also the roles these performers were given. I think the most memorable role here belongs to Charles Durning, who doesn’t have the biggest or most central part in the movie, but is able to steal the show when he does appear. Durning as a brutal, sadistic assassin is not the kind of role he is known for, but he is great in Cat Chaser, able to make the character work and provide some of the movie’s most memorable moments. I mean, I never expected to watch a scene where Durning forces two men to undress, then execute them in the nude, but here we are. Peter Weller is the lead and he brings a cool, laid back vibe to the part and that seems in line with his character’s persona. I don’t consider this one of his better performances by any means, but he does what the role requires and plays off his costars well. The cast also includes Tomas Milian, Kelly McGillis, Frederic Forrest, and Kelly Jo Minter, while Abel Ferrara directs.
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