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I really don't know if it's just me or if it's the constant bombardment of Asian movies that I watch but I have to admit to the entire world that I'm an one hundred percent sucker for horror movies where Japanese women are covered in blood and scream in terror. There's just nothing sexier than a gorgeous tan-skinned, black-haired, dark-eyed Japanese girl caught in the grip of terror or in the midst of a life-or-death situation. So, with that being said, that's why I'd have to rank this Japanese zombie splat-a-minute fiasco alot higher than it really should be.
JUNK (aka DEAD EVIL HUNTING) is, without a doubt, an uber-cheezy, poorly acted (especially the American cast), easy-to-read, direct-to-video type of "cheap thrill" gore flick that does very little for the so-called "zombie genre" save for adding numerous bloodsoaked entries into the encyclopedia of undead munchings and entrail scarfings. It smacks ever so loudly of LUCIO FULCI's Italian schlock-fest masterpiece, ZOMBI and owes quite alot to the camp horror classic, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. But hey, what's so nice about all this is that it SHOWS so we're not bogged down or tied up with the movie trying to be something that it's not. It's a given that we're NOT going to compare this to GEORGE ROMERO's epic "life beyond death" trilogy of films, that's for damn sure. Director MUROGA ATSUSHI (of GUN CRAZY fame) knew what he liked (reportedly after watching every zombie movie he could get his hands on) and he gave us a film that long time zombie fans (like myself) would expect to see and wouldn't be disappointed in seeing it. So, as you view it, the flick becomes quite a predictable piece, yes, but it's still great fun none-the-less.
JUNK's story goes something like this... Saki (played by sultry Japanese actress KAORI SHIMAMURA) and Akira (actor OSAMU EBARA) are two of four jewelry thieves who's recent heist brings them into nasty dealings with the local Yakuza kingpin, Ramon (played by actor TATE GOUTA). Their pre-planned meeting place to exchange stolen items for cash just happens to be an undercover military warehouse where, believe it or not, scientific experiments to bring the recently deceased back to life are taking place. I mean, c'mon, what else are abandoned secret military warehouses good for anyway. And well, you can guess the rest, the experiments get outta hand and the living dead are unleashed onto the gangsters, the robbers, and the military as well. What a surprise, huh? Anyway, using a neon green liquid (ala STUART GORDON and H.P. LOVECRAFT's bucket-o-blood fan fav, RE-ANIMATOR) called DNX which can bring the dead back to life, we meet Doctor Jun (actor ASANO NOBUYUKI) who finally admits to us his involvement in the program as he had hoped to bring his recently departed wife, Kyoko (played by the constant nude actress known only as MIWA) back from the beyond. And from here on out, the movie's nothing short of a wonderful brainless hour of running from the undead, catching a glimpse of a few moist zombie picnics, getting in a lucky head shot or two, and ALOT of screaming! What else could you possibly want from a zombie flick, huh?
Yet in JUNK's defense to set itself apart from the plethora of other gut munching film romps, there are two scenes in particular that really stand out in my opinion where JUNK really shines. First off, when Saki finds one of her gangsta buddies getting the chowdown from a pack of hungry zombies, she hollers out "They must be zombies! Let's get outta here!" and that's exactly something you'd think people in these kinds of situations would realize. Think about it, how many movies have we seen where the potential victims sit there and pretend that this can't be happening and try to concoct some explanation or reason for all this madness?! Damn, you'd think that they'd never seen a zombie movie before, ya know. The second highlight, and probably the most distinguishing scene is where Doctor Jun finds his wife, Kyoko for the first time after she's been turned. And what we get is, well, it's just great filmmaking. Without spoiling too much, let me say that it's got a nice setting, an emotional flashback sequence, and awfully sweet music. It's just the perfect movie moment, even when Kyoko goes super freak and fucks our poor doctor up something proper!
So, all in all, even though it's lacking in the "good movie" quality department, JUNK manages to supply the grue-thirsty horror hound with enough flesh feasting and bloodletting that overall, makes for a pretty damn good movie experience. There's no Oscars to be handed out for the film but if you're a zombie fanatic, you can't go wrong with JUNK. The import ARTSMAGIC / EASTERN CULT CINEMA Region 2 PAL anamorphic widescreen DVD that I purchased was rather expensive (about thirty bucks) but I'm sooo certainly glad I got the chance to see it and I would NEVER do without it being in my collection.