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Junk: Dead Evil Hunting (1999)
Director: Atsushi Muroga

review by Jeff Young

Three masked men pull off a jewellery shop heist and flee the scene in a getaway van driven by the girlfriend of one of the gangsters. The successful thieves plan to meet with some Yakuza guys, to fence the swag, at an old disused factory site. Of course, that's where the US military are hiding the corpses from their top-secret zombie research project...
   Junk (aka: Shiryou gari) combines Reservoir Dogs (1992) gangster action with the living dead gore of Re-Animator. The influence of Stuart Gordon's film is most apparent here in the injections of green DNX fluid, which brings the dead back to life. The leader of the Yakuza crew is so hard that he chews his own flesh when resurrected later in the film, and feisty Saki (Kaori Shimamura) is a two-gun heroine determined to survive her battles with the shambling hordes seeking fresh meat throughout the shadowy industrial labyrinth. There's an amusingly gross-out, predictably gut-wrenching finale but, sadly, the mediocre supporting cast with illogical character traits, like young Doctor Jun (Nobuyuki Asano) who's inexplicably proficient with automatic weapons, lessen the impact of this forgivably exploitative contribution to Asian trash cinema.
   Allusions to the Romero classic, Dawn Of The Dead (1979), generate certain interest and enthusiasm from splatter movie fans. The main twist here, although it is hardly a unique one and rather unfortunately somewhat underused, anyway, is the unexpected appearance of the 'evil undead goddess' (ah, yes, she was the eagerly-homicidal medic's wife!), who cannot be defeated, and unlike the movie's numerous and traditionally hideous lumps of mobile human scar tissue has retained both her beauty and intelligence (much like the alien vampire girl in cult shocker Lifeforce, 1985). If you enjoyed Lucio Fulci's tacky zombie flicks, this will entertain you.
   The Region 2 DVD from Eastern Cult Cinema has an anamorphic widescreen (ratio 16:9) picture with original Japanese sound in Dolby digital. Disc extras: filmographies, biographies, stills gallery, trailers, and artwork from Warrior label releases.

Related item:
tZ  Zombie Flicks - a top 10 listing by Octavio Ramos Jr

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