I recall indulging in a conversation with Cheeze regarding the fantastic movies I've been watching from the Far East. "This is great Cheeze! American movies are pathetic compared to their Japanese counterparts." I said. "Keep in mind that what you've been watching is the best Japan has to offer. There are plenty of shitty movies they make as well." Cheeze replied. Well, let that be a lesson learned for the ol' Dead boy, cuz Junk just so happened to be one of the shittiest zombie movies I have seen in recent years. I try to temper my criticism based on the subject matter, rather than the comparison to similar movies I've seen, but Junk was such a great disappointment and joykill to the recent wave of Japanese horror that I've viewed over the last month.
The plot entails a group of four jewelry thieves knocking off a store to sell the heist to a wealthy group of untrustworthy Yakuza. The Yakuza set up the meeting place for the sale at an abandoned U.S. military base that just so happened to be an epicenter for research on re-animating the dead a la Re-Animator (even the serum is the same color). The robbery however, goes a bit awry when one of the thieves, Akira, is stabbed in the foot by one of the shop workers. Ms. salesperson, meet the barrel of Jun's gun….. bye bye. So the quad of jewelry thieves speed off to the deserted base to recoup and meet the Yakuza with a bounty worth over 100 million yen. While both parties are in transit to the base, we see a doctor accosted by the U.S. military and brought back to the main "headquarters" to meet with "top military personnel". The doctor is informed that the resurrection program that he and the American doctor created has gone amiss, and they need to destroy the abandoned base to cover up any trace of the faulty experiments.
The thieves reach the base before the Yakuza and begin to explore the territory. The head thief, Jun, has a nasty run in with a zombie left over from the experiment and meets his early demise. The remaining trio of thieves clumsily search for their fallen cohort and discover his ravaged body in the corner of a lab room, where a group of shotty zombies are feasting on his remains. I will give this movie a tremendous amount of credit for the bloody body part FX and zombie make-up, but who the fuck hired Hellen Keller as wardrobe girl? Anyways, the trio make their escape from the mini-horde of zombies only to encounter the Yakuza in the front of the building. After exchanging warnings with the Yakuza, the remaining thieves discover that the whole sale was a set-up! No Way! Uh-oh, the Yakuza didn't like the actions of the second in charge and he receives a few bullets for his efforts. Right as the remaining two thieves are to be executed by the Yakuza, a zombie attacks the group and we have the typical "freak-out" session.
Back to the headquarters where the doctor is trying to detonate a bomb in the base to remotely destroy his failed experiment. But alas, someone or something has tapped into the main circuitry and shut down the self destruct function of the base. They leave a note on the computer screen for the doctor, signed "Love……..K". The doctor shows immediate signs of concern and bewilderment as I roll my eyes and pray for Muroga to omit a love story from this atrocity. The doctor decides that he must go to the base and activate the self destruct sequence himself, so he head off in a chopper to the destination, where apparently more zombies have spawned much like the gang members in Assault on Precinct 13. Funny, because I only saw a dozen names in the credits for playing zombies, but there must have been over 50 featured in the movie. The rest of this laugh off showcases the remaining thieves fleeing from the zombies at the base and an encounter the doctor has with a person of his past, which was certainly not an interesting twist on an already dull, trite plot.
As I mentioned earlier, the FX were pretty good, but not good enough to make up for a sub-par plot and ridiculous acting. I swear, the zombies had more acting accomplishments than the speaking cast in this movie. As for the story, this is certainly something that we have seen in a number of other zombie movies including Re-Animator and Dawn of the Dead, but Muroga does nothing to improve on the subject or add any elements of ingenuity. I found myself repeating the word "redundant" constantly through the movie and even caught myself praying for something interesting to happen. I was very disappointed by this feature, especially since Fango hyped this as one of the "better" zombie flicks to come out of Japan. What does this tell us boys and ghouls? Don't expect any undead magic to come out of the Far East anytime soon.