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Junk: Shiryô-gari (2000)

Directed by: Atsushi Muroga
Nobuyuki Asano .... Jun
Osamu Ebara .... Akira
Tate Gouta .... Ramon
Natsuki Ozawa
Kaori Shimamura .... Saki
Miwa Yanagizawa .... Kyoko/Zombie Queen (as Miwa)
Run time: 90 minutes

In the mood for a Japanese-Gangster-Action-Zombie flick? There’s something to be said for gathering the gang around the tube, grabbing a fat bag of microwave popcorn and watching a movie just because it’s fun. If you’re not looking for Academy Award winning material, Junk may be the fix you need.

Junk begins with the requisite scene of a scientist eschewing ethics to bring someone back to life. Before you know it, there’s a zombie epidemic on a seemingly abandoned United States military base. Meanwhile, a group of jewel thieves plan a meeting with members of the Yakuza at the same “abandoned” base. The Beefboy imagines that you can figure the rest out from there.

This movie is a mélange of film styles, but skews heavily toward American movies. I think director Atsushi Muroga watched Reservoir Dogs, Dawn of the Dead and The Rock before he began his script. The problem here is that he’s not Quentin Tarantino, George Romero or even Michael Bay. Muroga is a serviceable director, but… he’s bitten off more than he can chew.

With the notable exception of Kaori Shimamura, the acting is way over the top, which is not helped by the thin dialogue. Osamu Ebara, doing his best version of Bill Paxton in Aliens, is at least entertaining in his vaudeville performance. Miwa Yanagizawa is a treat in the film, but not because of her acting abilities.

The gore factor in Junk is very high. There’s a lot of eating entrails and neck munching, cavity searches (through dismembered torsos) and direct shots to the brain pan that leave a pretty red pattern on the wall. Guns fire endlessly without reloads (unless that serves the plot). If you like your films served with lots of marinara then Junk delivers.

While 28 Days Later has probably spoiled all other zombie movies for me, Junk does have some redeeming qualities. Kaori Shimamura does well with what she’s got, and she’s not hard on the eyes either. Miwa, the Zombie Queen, runs around naked for half the film, and she doesn’t look like any zombie I’ve ever seen! This chick is some sort of naked pert pale goth hottie cannibal, and the Beefboy is okay with most of that. Primarily though, Junk is just a fun movie. I don’t think the director set out to do anything besides make an ode to western genre films and have a blast while doing it. Junk is a movie crafted specifically to be shown at midnight and enjoyed among crowds of good friends.

The DVD extras are fairly spartan. There is a section where the press kit for Junk is transcribed for you to read. Some trailers for Junk and other movies are included as well. A behind-the-scenes featurette would have been appreciated, and Miwa’s home phone number would have been nice too… but you can’t have everything.

4 out of 10



Dig it!
-The Beefboy