9 out of 10


The Sequel to "Basic Instinct"?

"Cheat Winkles - This is endorsed by every major beauty mag" proclaims the first inbound spam of today. Just after the Second World War, there was a company offering breast enlargement cream which worked brilliantly, it was highly carcinogenic so a woman`s chest expanded with the tumour that would kill her in weeks. Nothing changes, leaving the story of "Catwoman" all to believable.

After accidentally discovering that "Beauline" beauty cream, the product her employer are about to launch has hideous side effects, including death, advertising artist Patience is terminated by the henchmen of the Hedare`s, the ruthless couple who own it, determined to launch it even though it`s as healthy as plutonium. As her corpse lies on a sandbank, Midnight, a cat that she had risked her life to save just a couple of days before, steps forth to breathe life back into her, but this time, with all the instincts and abilities of a cat, as he is actually a rare cat that is Holy to the ancient Egyptians. Above all, it gives her perfect confidence in every move she makes, no matter how gymnastic. Patience, struggling to come to term with her new self, must now trace what happened as she has no memory of it and evade the traps that the Hedare throw in her path.

Having entered the Cinema as a skeptic, I was truly delighted with the all new Catwoman. Long gone is the irritating Eartha Kitt from the campy Batman TV series and the insanity of Michelle Pfeiffer in the films and instead there is Halle Berry who could have been born for the part: if even 1% of the gossip columns are true, she is herself a serious Bipolar and is utterly at home as the ordinary girl who swings between being timid to being a ruthless hunter. Now with powerful criminal impulses herself, she is barely on the side of good.

Against her is Sharon Stone who, as Laurel Hedare, is one of the most credible supervillains that I can ever remember. After years of taking Beauline herself, Hedare now has skin as hard as marble. In many ways, Stone`s performance is a reprise of Catherine Tramell in "Basic Instinct" and she perfectly creates her in all of her mind twisted nastiness, a truly tree dimensional enemy, worthy of defeat by a superhero.

Although backed by an army of ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT stunt professionals, it is the work by Anne Fletcher, the movement choreographer that makes the film so watchable, as Catwoman moves from building to building like a character out of a Manga cartoon, yet never so ludicrously that it would seem like a slap in the face for Isaac Newton`s Law of Gravity, but merely a compliment to it.

As a spin-off from Marvel Comics, it is of a specific genre and the plot is seriously simplistic and similar to that of others like Batman, and to some extent, you know before you arrive, you`ll have to check your brain in at the auditorium door. Yet the film comes close to escaping its root with it`s strong reality, making so much better and believable than Spiderman.

The Cat that Ate The Spider!

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett