The Junkman (1982)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/16/00
Written and Directed by: H.B. Halicki
Cast: H.B. Halicki

How bizarre. The film starts out as a photo montage of movie star Harlan Hollis's (H.B. Halicki) rise to fame, starting with his blockbuster hit, "Gone In 60 Seconds" (1974). (!) We then find out that Harlan's wife got killed in a car accident, and he's been solely responsible for raising his little girl, Kelly, ever since. Then we jump ten years ahead as Harlan is filming a sequel to "Gone In 60 Seconds," and while we never see the final footage, it is actually featured in Halicki's cut-and-paste film, "Deadline Autotheft" (1983). (!!!) En route to a James Dean festival, Harlan is ambushed by a trio of assassins, and the entire first hour of the film is dominated by the ensuing chase. Left for dead, Harlan manages to escape a fiery death and heads back to Los Angeles to figure out who's trying to kill him. With the aid of a news crew and the Goodyear Blimp, he discloses the villain and stops a bomb from going off at the theater where Harlan's new film is being premiered.

Unfortunately, most of the stunt work and chase sequences are silly and uninteresting, and a lot of corners are cut with invasive editing. Additionally, the campy comedic tone of the car crashes just reeks of "The Dukes Of Hazzard" - destruction purely for the sake of destruction. Too bad. That's not to say that the film doesn't have its exciting moments - there are just too few of them to save the film. Poor beat-up Eleanor from "Gone In 60 Seconds" shows up briefly, which is kind of nice to see, but this brings up the one aspect of the film that bothers me the most. Are we to believe that this is actually the H.B. Halicki story? Or is it just some fantasy life/alter ego spun up by Halicki? It's all very strange, and I'm not sure that it works very well.