“Shit we’re toast!”
There are plenty of Japanese zombie movies out there, covering every style & sub genre of the living dead. From the great (Wild Zero, Versus) to the average (Rika, Oneechanbara) to the downright crap (Stacy: Attack of The Schoolgirl Zombies) Yet it is Junk that is with a doubt my personal favourite Japanese zombie flick. I will be the first to admit Junk is kind of cheap & most defiantly flawed, but it entertains, in the same way Bruno Mattei’s movies do. It’s just damned enjoyable.
Junk starts with a prologue involving an American doctor’s experiments at a top-secret military compound, with a drug called DNX to restore life to the dead. The test subject does indeed reanimate & then proceeds to snack on the unfortunate doctor. A gang of thieves rob a jewelry store & along with their getaway driver Saki (Kaori Shimamura) head to a meeting with a local Yakuza boss to sell their loot. unfortunately for the gang, the location chosen for the rendezvous is the now abandoned military base. A gunfight between the gang & the mob follows & DNX is split onto the dozens of dead bodies stored on the premises. Soon the dead are returning to life & are very hungry. The army, aware that something is wrong, send in a special opps team, lead by a former doctor on the project & all hell breaks loose.
Junk isn’t perfect by any means. The Japanese actors speak Japanese & The American actors speak English. The mix of languages actually feels contrived & awkward & the Japanese doctor that speaks both languages seems to struggle slightly with English. The zombies themselves are an obvious homage to Fulci’s zombies. Slow moving & looking like they stepped straight off the set of Zombi 2, they are effective & certainly one of the film’s highpoints. Kaori Shimamura gives an assured performance as the film’s lead. Sadly the rest of the cast’s acting talents are poor, especially the American actors. Junk is a retro splatter movie. It’s an old-fashioned, blood soaked, gore drenched 83 minutes of fun. While it might not be an all time zombie classic, let’s be honest, when did George Romero last make a decent zombie movie? Junk does what it sets out to do, entertain. Isn’t that the whole point?
If you like the old style zombie movies of Romero, Fulci & Mattei, then Junk is for you. An old-school splatterfest that despite its rough edges is so much fun. If you haven’t seen Junk I suggest you rent it, get some friends round, some beer & enjoy it for what it is. Highly enjoyable, highly recommended.