Categories
DC Comics

DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Part 44): Catwoman: Hunted

Hello, my friends.  We all have those moments when our choices to engage in either noble or devious acts could potentially send us into situations we never expected to find ourselves in.  For one famous cat thief, that will become absolutely true.  On that note, I welcome you all to another entry of…

Even though our featured character has popped up several times on this site, she’s mostly been relegated to a supporting role, either as a comrade to the Dark Knight or even in an extremely brief capacity.  Not only that, but the only time that she’s ever gotten the main spotlight was within a DC Showcase film from 2011.  Nowadays, it’s time to change all of that as she finally gets promoted to some feature-length duties.  For this entry, I’ll be looking over a harrowing caper that will take her all across Europe as I delve into a movie called…

Released on February 8, 2022 for Digital Download, Blu-Ray & 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray, this Shinsuke Terasawa-directed and Greg Wiseman-written film was animated by the Japanese animation & film studio known as OLM, Inc.  As far as my research goes, this movie was also released on DVD, but only in international markets.  So, what sort of cross-country mission awaits our familiar Feline Fatale?  Let’s sharpen our claws and find out.

During the opening credits, we begin with our featured anti-heroine making her way to Sochi, Russia in order to rescue a large group of young women who’ve been captured and placed into a human trafficking ring by a devious organization called Leviathan.  She manages to bust them out, only to be met upon by opposing guards.  Thankfully, she’s able to beat them up and get the ladies to safety.

Sometime later, we transition to the countryside within Spain where a masquerade ball is being held inside a luxurious manor.  Shortly after a limousine arrives, a group of masked bodyguards emerge to examine their surroundings before the head goon gives the go-ahead for their boss named Roman Sionis a.k.a. Black Mask (voiced by Mike Ehrmantraut himself, Jonathan Banks) to emerge.  As they make their way up the stairs, a fancy purple car pulls up as a woman (voiced by Elizabeth Gillies) dressed up in a classy purple Catwoman costume arrives and tells the valet to keep her vehicle close by, since she’s only staying for a short while.  From there, she meets up with Roman as the two of them and his bodyguards make their way inside.

Shortly after they arrive in the main ballroom, they’re then met upon by another crime boss named Tobias Whale (voiced by Keith David).  Sionis’ men immediately draw their guns on him, but Black Mask tells them to stand down since he’s working for their hostess.  From there, Roman tells his date that he has to go pay his respects, to which she tells him that she’ll see him later.

From there, Sionis and his bodyguards are brought to a private room as Tobias introduces him to Leviathan’s leader named Barbara Minerva (voiced by Kirby Howell-Baptiste).  She describes the organization as “cooperative” before she asks him for his entrance fee, to which a goon emerges with a metallic briefcase containing said payment that will be placed within a secure area.

Back within the party, Black Mask’s date proceeds to mingle with the guests before she dismisses herself towards the bathroom.  Meanwhile, Roman’s payment has been placed within the safe.  As Barbara escorts the group back towards the party, Sionis says that he heard about the incident over in Sochi.  Minerva assures him that it’s only a small set-back and that Leviathan is big enough to take that loss.

Up on the roof, a cat is wandering all around it and unintentionally setting off the motion sensors up there.  With the two guys on monitor duty not willing to risk their lives and go after it, they simple turn the motion sensors off in order to just rely on the security cameras.

Meanwhile, Roman’s date has changed outfits as it’s revealed that she’s actually Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman.  From there, she climbs onto the roof and places a device onto a connecting electric box so that it’ll loop the same footage of the cat walking by.

With the security system out of the way, Selina proceeds to climb, flip and crawl towards a certain part of the manor.  After eluding a few guards along the way, she finally reaches the safe and opens it up.

With the object of her desire in sight, she then takes out some make-up powder and blows it into the room, revealing a dense series of motion-sensor lasers that’re surrounding the item.  After she uses her whip to climb up to the roof, she gets herself in position before dropping down next to the Cat’s Eye Emerald.  Finally, she carefully places a small cat statue in place of the valuable stone as she successfully swipes the priceless rock.

Suddenly, a Batarang flies in and lands onto the display, setting off the motion alarms and forcing Catwoman to run towards the closing door.  Thankfully, she makes it out in time.  As she heads towards the same balcony that she came in through, she’s suddenly approached by the two monitor guards who open fire upon her.  She manages to dodge their shots and elude them through the series of hallways.

However, she ends up right back at the ballroom just as Barbara and company have also returned as well.  After Selina uses a chandelier to reach the main level, Minerva tells her men to stop her as Tobias heads down alongside Black Mask’s henchmen.  However, they’re unable to reach Catwoman due to the dense amount of guests surrounding her.  To her surprise however, they were all brandishing their own weapons and proceed to attack her.

Not only does Selina manage to evade their physical assaults, but she also dodges the numerous shots from opposing machine guns and rocket launchers as well.  By the end, she’s able to defeat all of the guests before she properly introduces herself to Barbara and her cohorts.  Afterwards, she takes her leave.

Catwoman manages to return to her vehicle where the familiar cat named Isis was waiting as she gives her pet the Cat’s Eye Emerald.  The valet tries to give her the car keys, but Tobias catches up and orders him not to do so.  Thankfully, she hid a spare key as she proceeds to drive off.  However, Whale, Sionis’ goons and even a few of the costumed guests hop into their cars in order to follow her.

A chase ensues as Selina finds herself getting pursued by Tobias and his men.  Unbeknownst to all of them, a shadowy figure is also in pursuit.

Whale and his goons ultimately catch up as a pair of perps pulls up and attempts to sideswipe her off the road.  Thankfully, she sideswipes them back as the fiendish patrons swerve off the cliff before they meet their fiery end.

She’s then met upon by a pair of vans on both sides as one of the goons orders her to pull order.  After she refuses, the henchmen attempt a pincer maneuver in order to slow her down.  Once they try again, she manages to brake at the right time as one of the vehicles ends up driving off into the ocean while the other van was forced onto the cliffside before rolling along the street and mostly blocking it.  While Tobias and one other van managed to evade the overturned vehicle, the rest of the henchmen end up crashing into it and take themselves out of the chase.  Shortly afterwards, the shadowy figure zooms past them.

Meanwhile, Catwoman drives into a village as Whale finally starts firing a shotgun at her.  Shortly afterwards, Tobias’s group and the goons within the remaining van split up in order to surround her.

Whale then tells a Black Mask henchman to get ready for his shot.  However, it involved the massive crime boss throwing him onto Selina’s car.  The thug then orders her to stop, but she manages to slam on the brakes as he winds up pinned within the vehicle before she opens the passenger door during a turn and forces the goon out.

She then drives down a narrow street, only to be met upon by the remaining van.  As such, she shifts into reverse and not only outruns her pursuers, but the goons end up stuck as a result of the vehicle being too wide to get through the thin street.

Finally, she’s met upon by Whale who manages to catch up and lay a hand on her shoulder.  However, this distracted him and his driver from some roadwork as they crash into it.  Unlike the driver who ended up badly injured, Tobias only suffered minor injuries.

Just as Selina is about to enjoy her escape, the shadowy figure finally catches up and emerges as it’s revealed to be Kate Kane a.k.a. Batwoman (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz).  Her sudden appearance causes Kyle to swerve out of the way, resulting in her violently flipping her car over.  She’s then approached by Kate who tells her that she’s become “Leviathan’s #1 target” before she passes out.

Later, Whale finally arrives at the overturned car and retrieves the Cat’s Eye Emerald.  From there, he returns to the manor as Barbara examines it and assures him that it’s the genuine article.  Black Mask then criticizes her for Leviathan’s lack of proper security, to which she accesses the camera footage and chastises him for bringing Catwoman to the party in the first place.  Roman then admits that they all made their mistakes and there was ultimately no harm done, to which Minerva disagrees.  Because of Selina’s recent activities, she’ll make sure that Kyle faces the full wrath of her organization.

Meanwhile, Catwoman wakes up within a private plane alongside Isis before she’s met upon by Batwoman.  Kate says that she purposely left the Cat’s Eye Emerald behind before Selina realizes that she was also the one who disrupted her attempted heist.  Kane assures her that Barbara isn’t a simple gangster and that she shouldn’t try to escape.  Kyle assures her that she won’t be doing so, especially since she can tell that they’re flying towards the East.  From there, a pair of Interpol agents come in as Batwoman introduces her to Julia Pennyworth (voiced by Maggie Rhee herself, Laren Cohen) and King Faraday (voiced by William Riker himself, Jonathan Frakes).  He tells Catwoman that the private jet that they’re on was confiscated from the Penguin before she gets up to have some champagne and ask why they’re heading East.  Julia says that they’re tracking both Black Mask and Minerva, to which Kane mentions that she coated the emerald within a liquid tracker back in Gotham prior to Sionis taking possession of it.  Pennyworth then explains that Barbara has financially padded Leviathan through various devious activities, to the point where it’s become “richer than many countries”.  In order for them to properly cripple her and her organization, they’ll be heading towards the group’s meet-up with their criminal cartel since Roman is looking to join forces.  Selina then gets reminded that she has multiple arrest warrants from numerous countries and that if she helps them finally bring Leviathan down for good, then they’ll expunge her criminal record.  Should she refuse however, she’ll be immediately incarcerated.  When Kyle asks how she’ll be able to help them, the scene ends with Kate telling her to become “a target”.

Over at Leviathan’s private plane, Minerva has a private call with an associate.  With both of them aware of their situation, Barbara wants Catwoman to get rubbed out and that she’s willing to offer any resources.  However, the associate says that it’s not necessary since she also hates Selina.  As such, she’ll have a female assassin take care of the Feline Fatale.

Back with our main group, they arrive in Shanghai as Julia & King head out to track Minerva and her large group towards their location.  Meanwhile, Batwoman will stay put to look after Kyle.  While Catwoman decides to take a bubble bath within the jet’s built-in bathroom, Pennyworth and Faraday take their leave shortly before Kate closes the door.

From there, she meets up with Kyle who’s already stripped down to a towel and prepping her bath.  While the bubble solution develops, she heads over to Kate and caresses her wig while talking about her disguise in a sultry way.   She ultimately relieves Kane of her mask and false hair before discarding her own towel and invites her to the tub, all the while she slowly leans in for a kiss.  Just as Kate is about to accept the offer, Kyle casually declines and gets in herself.  From there, Kate angrily heads off to the cockpit in order to learn about Julia & King’s progress.

Afterwards, it’s revealed that Selina’s seductive act was a means to secretly steal Kane’s personal Bat cell phone.  From there, she contacts her youthful friend named Holly Robinson, especially since she’s looking after the young women that were recently saved from the Sochi-based human trafficking ring.  Kyle then promises that she’ll work up “enough scratch” in order for those ladies to never be harmed ever again.

Over with Barbara and her large group, she holds an official Leviathan meeting where she presents Black Mask for entry into their organization, especially since his control over America’s “Eastern Seaboard Cartel” would help them strengthen their grasp upon the entire “Global Underworld”.  After she presents the Cat’s Eye Emerald as his membership payment, the four central members ultimately agree to let Roman join them.

From there, he gets introduced to the group’s board.  First up is Oyabun Noguri a.k.a. Mr. Yakuza (voiced by Andrew Kishino), who’s the leader of the Japanese Cartel.  Next up, he’s meets the Chinese Cartel’s headmaster named Dr. Tzin Zhao Tzin (voiced by Ron Yuan).  He’s then introduced to Amparo Cardenas a.k.a. La Dama (voiced by Jacqueline Obradors), who runs Central America’s Cartel.  Finally, there’s Moxie Mannheim (also voiced by Jonathan Frakes), but it turns out that he and Sionis already know each other since they share some sour history.  Minerva steps in and reminds them that they’re part of a cooperative group, especially since Black Mask operates on the Eastern Seaboard, while Moxie works with Intergang and serves as a reliable arms dealer to Leviathan.  Afterwards, the board then brings up their organization’s recent failure over in Sochi, to which Barbara assures them that it’s only a minor setback and that she’ll properly deal with it.

Back aboard the jet, it’s flying above the city as Catwoman has suited up for the mission.  As Batwoman tells her that they’ll be receiving the call at any point, she asks “Cat” to lay off the “faux-sexual” talk.  Just then, Selina snaps and tells her that only “he” is allowed to call her by that name.  Shortly afterwards, Julia contacts Kate and informs her that they’ve located Leviathan’s meeting spot.  However, they’re not ready to move in yet.  In order to prevent any devious member from escaping, they’ll need to send in their “distraction”.  Because they don’t have time to properly land and rendezvous on foot, Kane gives Kyle a parachute.  Once Catwoman puts it on, she’s then given a ear piece in order for them to stay in contact, as well as a new pair of goggles.

Once she reaches her drop spot, Selina jumps out and enjoys the thrill of the freefall for a bit. Ultimately, she deploys her chute before Batwoman tells her to press a button that’s on the side of her goggles.  Kyle then asks what’s stopping her from just slipping away, to which Kate says that she has Isis in her possession.  As such, Catwoman complies and activates a special function in her new goggles, which shows her the building that she has to head to.  Ultimately, she gets out of her chute and safely lands on the roof.

She then looks in through the sunroof and observes the meeting in progress.  Suddenly, she’s met upon by Jade Nguyen a.k.a. Cheshire (voiced by Kelly Hu) as it’s revealed that she’s an assassin for the League of Shadows and that she was hired to slay Selina.  From there, Jade takes out a retractable sword and proceeds to engage Kyle in a “Cat Fight”.

During their scuffle, Catwoman uses her whip to yank the blade out of Nguyen’s hand and into her possession.  Chesire then manages to scratch Selina’s face with her tiger claws, even revealing that they’re laced with a jellyfish toxin.  Fortunately, Kyle mentions that she fell for that trick during their previous fight and since then, she’s built up her own immunity to it.

They resume their brawl as Catwoman disarms Jade of her tiger claws with a precise kick, but Nguyen is able to trip her up before delivering some fierce strikes.  From there, she takes out her sais and prepares to finish her off.

Fortunately, Batwoman arrives and kicks her away.  Kate then reveals that she’s returning Isis to her master, especially since it was being very temperamental back on the plane.  Either way, Kane takes out a pair of Batarangs and prepares to join forces with Selina.  However, Chesire reveals that she has her own partner for this situation.  As such, another L.O.S. assassin arrives as it’s revealed to be Nosferata (voiced by Zehra Fazal).

She proceeds to attack Batwoman before picking her up and flying off into the skies, while Kyle is forced to fight Jade again by herself.  Back with Nosferata, she reaches a high-enough altitude before she drops Kate.  Fortunately, Kane was able to shoot a grappling line onto the she-creature’s leg.  Unfortunately, Nosferata responds by flying her around the area.

Ultimately, Kane roughly lands back on the roof.  Thankfully, she uses a smokescreen ball to disorient her winged foe before retaliating with a fierce knee strike.  The force sends Nosferata tumbling towards the skylight and even though she tries to fight back with some sonic winds from her wings, Batwoman manages to fight through it before she pins her foe on the skylight and continues her beatdown.

Inside the building, the whole group notices the brewing conflict above them.  Back on the roof, Kate is dealing consecutive blows upon Nosferata.  Just then, Catwoman’s fight with Jade makes it’s way towards them.  The final straw then occurs when Nguyen tackles Selina into Kate and Nosferata with enough force for all four ladies to crash through the sun roof.

Kane manages to grab onto the grapple line that’s still wrapped around Nosferata’s ankle before she provides a timely save by grasping onto Selina’s hand.  However, Jade was able to grab onto Kyle’s legs as the combined weight begins to drag Nosferata down.  Fortunately, Catwoman was able to kick Chesire off as the masked assassin slams onto the floor and ends up passing out.

Afterwards, our two main ladies decide to use their remaining foe as their means of breaking their fall.  Batwoman manages to swing Selina up onto one of Nosferata’s wings before she climbs onto the other one.  From there, they make their foe plummet towards the ground as they survive the impact while the she-creature winds up knocked out.

However, they now find themselves surrounded by the entire Leviathan group.  As such, Black Mask orders his henchmen to kill them.  While Kyle takes cover from the opposing gunshots, Kate manages to evade them before she attacks the perps.

She then has the main henchman as her shield, thus forcing the other goons to hesitate.  However, Roman simply shoots his former ally before Catwoman reemerges to fight the thugs.

From there, the rest of Leviathan gets involved as Mr. Yakuza sends his own katana-wielding cronies in.  Also, Moxie activates some Apokoliptian tech and creates a mech suit for himself, somehow also summoning two other mechanized allies to his cause.  Over with Dr. Tzin, he smashes a pair of beakers as its compounds create a pair of monsters for him to use.

Finally, La Dama uses her magic to summon a pair of demons named Abaddon (voiced by Steven Blum) and Morax (also voiced by Keith David).

With the majority of Black Mask’s men defeated, Catwoman and Batwoman suddenly find themselves up against towering monsters.  Just then, Mr. Yakuza’s cronies show up as Selina takes out her retractable sword and engages them.  Meanwhile, Kate takes out the remainder of Roman’s goons just as Moxie appears and fires a technical beam towards her.

Back with Kyle, she finally defeats Mr. Yakuza’s group before the main man himself turns up.  He proceeds to tell her that he was trained to properly fight with a katana by a sensei who was taught by Lady Shiva.  In return, Catwoman informs him that she was trained to fight with a katana by Lady Shiva herself.  From there, she swiftly defeats him before she gets bull rushed by Tobias.  With the massive hit causing her to get completely disarmed and weary, she’s then approached by Whale who then begins to crush her with his arms.

Meanwhile with Kane, she does her best to fend off Abbadon and Morax.  Just then, she notices La Dama who’s busy ordering her summoned demons to take their targets out.  While she’s in the middle of giving them commands, Batwoman takes out a special adhesive and throws it at La Dama, completely covering her mouth and preventing her from talking.  The two demons are then puzzled by what their orders are, to which Kate says that their master no longer needs their services and that they can go away.  With La Dama unable to belay that order, Abbadon and Morax proceed to head back to their dimension before Kane swiftly defeats her with a punch to her face.

Back with Selina, she struggles to free herself from Tobias’ muscled grasp.  With a series of headbutts to his face not working, she’s then able to use some retractable tips from her boots and stab both his foot & his leg.  She then displays her flexibility by even stabbing his arms, which finally forces him to release her.

Meanwhile, Batwoman is dodging Dr. Tzin’s monsters while she contacts Julia and asks when her group will finally arrive to break up this scuffle.  Ultimately, Pennyworth and a large group of Interpol agents burst in.  Though they initially struggled against Mannheim and his duplicated cohorts, they’re able to gun down Dr. Tzin’s monsters.

Over with King Faraday, he manages to toss a small device onto one of Moxie’s duplicated men, causing his mech armor to get disabled.

Back over with Julia, she’s getting pursued by Black Mask while dodging his gunfire.  Fortunately, she manages to give him the slip by using a column to evade him before she takes him out with a fierce pistol whip.

Meanwhile, her fellow Interpol agents have finally defeated Moxie and his lone remaining duplicate.  With Dr. Tzin watching from afar, he prepares to take out another vial and create another monster.  However, he’s met upon by Pennyworth and Faraday as they force him to surrender.

Back over with Catwoman, she’s able to continually strike away at Tobias.  Despite his physical injuries and growing exhaustion, he still refuses to go down.  Thankfully, she rectifies that with a swift kick to his groin and finally defeats him.

With the battle over, the Cat’s Eye Emerald has been recovered while most of Leviathan has been caught.  As the captured goons get taken away, Isis finally returns to her before she’s met upon by Julia and King.  Despite the majority of Leviathan being torn down, Barbara was still able to slip away during the whole commotion.  Selina criticizes them since she was only meant to serve as a “distraction”, while they were supposed to have the whole building covered.  Ultimately, they agree that since she did her job for this mission, Kyle’s worldwide criminal record will be expunged.  As Batwoman, Pennyworth and Faraday take their leave, Kyle then asks them if she can have the Cat’s Eye Emerald, to which they all tell her “No!”.

Sometime later, Catwoman is in Paris as she looks over a valuable necklace that she’s stolen while hanging out on the Eiffel Tower.  She tells Isis that while it won’t fetch as high of a price as the Cat’s Eye Emerald, it’ll still go a long way towards giving the financial freedom that the captured ladies back home desperately need.  However, Leviathan has some unsettled beef with her since she’s fully aware of the numerous amount of assassins from the League of Shadows that have arrived to slay her.  As she takes out her retractable sword and prepares to engage them, Batwoman suddenly arrives and informs her that 52 assassins are present.  From there, they decide to turn this into a contest and see who can take out the most enemies.

As they proceed to defeat their foes, Selina asks Kate why she’s here, to which she explains that she felt that Minerva had unfinished business to settle with our Feline Fatale.  Kyle slyly thinks that Kane simply finds her “irresistible”, but Batwoman says that it’s still her responsibility to make sure that Catwoman survives this whole ordeal.  Ultimately, their contest gets fierce as the opposing assassins keep getting defeated.  With only one left, it leads to him comically trying to flee while our two main ladies hunt him down.

Afterwards, they emerge victorious and head out on a stroll as Selina declares herself the winner due to her taking down 27 assassins, compared to the 25 that Kate bested.  Unbeknownst to them however, they’re been watched from above as within a helicopter, Barbara tells Talia al Ghul (also voiced by Zehra Fazal) that her recent group of ninjas weren’t enough.  Afterwards, Minerva gives the order for the assassins to “deliver the package”.

Just then, Selina and Kate are met upon by a crate that’s been dropped in front of them.  Soon enough, it’s revealed that it was carrying the undead fiend known as Solomon Grundy (also voiced by Steven Blum).  Shortly after Isis managed to flee, Solomon proceeds to smash the ground in front of our two main ladies as they get rocked by the powerful shockwave.

Kyle tries to fight back with her sword, but it ends up shattering upon impact to no avail.  Kane is then able to come to the rescue by throwing a grappling hook into the zombified monster and holding him at bay with the cable.  Unfortunately, he’s able to pull the hook out of his back before he yanks Batwoman towards him and knocks her out with a fierce punch.

He then tries to attack the unconscious heroine, yet Catwoman is able to wrap her whip around his arm before she lures him away.

She ultimately reaches a construction site just as Grundy is able to catch up to her.  She then manages to slink her way into a storage area where she’s able to find some dynamite.  Just as he tears the door off, she has the sticks lit up before she shoves them into his mouth and runs over to take some cover.  From there, a massive explosion occurs as Solomon’s left arm and head wind up as the most decimated body parts before he falls over in defeat.

Shortly afterwards, Selina is then approached by Barbara as she also has Isis in her grasp.  Even though she does gets scratched upon her face, Minerva calmly places the cat onto the ground before she transforms into her feral state known as Cheetah.  With Kyle rightfully shocked by this turn of events, Barbara says that even Wonder Woman felt the same way when she learned of this as well.  She goes on to explain that she ultimately took complete control over Leviathan through her father’s financial status and her mother’s connection to the goddess known as Urzkartaga.  With Catwoman spooked by the physical presence of her adversary, she tries to talk her way out of this confrontation, but Minerva doesn’t buy it as they ultimately engage each other in a climactic “Cat Fight”.