Atsushi Muroga is a Japanese director who specializes in action movies. Well, he specializes in action movies that are derivative of other action movies, mostly of the American variety. However, Muroga‘s films are still pretty damn cool in all their hyper-violent glory.
Junk (2000) was the first Atsushi Muroga movie I ever watched, as well as the first ever Japanese zombie movie I watched, before even Ryuhei Kitamura‘s Versus (2000) or Tetsuro Takeuchi‘s Wild Zero (1999).
Junk is like Quentin Tarantino‘s Reservoir Dogs (1992) with zombies. However, since Muroga‘s previous film Score (1995) was his homage to Reservoir Dogs, Junk is more like Score with zombies, and a female lead.
In Junk, a group of amateur thieves, including Saki (Kaori Shimamura) and Akira (Shu Ehara), rob a jewelry store. They make a deal to sell the stolen goods to the local yakuza, led by Ramon (Tate Gouta), and agree to meet at an old abandoned military base. However, the base was once used by the U.S. military to develop ways to bring the dead back to life, and some of the living dead are still there. Now, Saki and Akira must face double-crossing yakuza, flesh-eating zombies, and zombie queen Kyoko (Miwa) who once was the deceased wife of the scientist, Nakada (Yuji Kishimoto), who created the zombies.
Junk works, partly, because of its gunplay action and zombie gore, but, mostly, because of the very lovely gravure idol Kaori Shimamura in the lead role. Saki, a former nurse, is motivated to rob a jewelry store by the desire to purchase a black convertible Corvette. And, this need forces her to be a badass. She and Akira find themselves facing a horde of ambling zombies, including double-crossing Ramon who is still grasping the bag of stolen jewels. Saki grins, checks her 9-millimeter, then takes Akira’s 9-millimeter, and charges at the zombies, with both guns blazing, Chow Yun-fat style, as the sound of dozens of spent shells hit the cement. She uses her last bullet on Ramon, tosses the empty weapons over her shoulders, and takes her jewels. Awesome! In the end, Saki gets her car, for free, thanks to her friend Akira, and the two of them drive off. I love this movie!. And, Kaori Shimamura.
Watch the trailer (without subtitles) here: