Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some quick thoughts on Death Junction (1995) + Screencaps from the rare Greek DVD release

I've been a fan of Jalal Merhi's films for maybe since February of 2009 after watching Tiger Claws one time on YouTube. I eventually acquired some of his films on VHS including Tiger Claws and Tiger Claws 2, Talons of the Eagle and TC 2000, among others. Many will disagree with me, but his movies are quite fun in my personal opinion.

I found one film of his that does not seem to have seen much of a release back in January of 2011. That film was Death Junction (1995), directed by John Bradshaw (The Big Slice) and veteran Canadian actor Al Waxman (Cagney and Lacey, The King of Kensington). I had seen a trailer for it on YouTube back in August of the year before and that along with its rarity got me all the more interested.

The movie centers around Johnny (Phil Morrison - The Big Slice, Prom Night 4) who is a small time drug pusher for Toronto crime boss Eddie Vegas (Brad Milne - Zombie Strippers, Crisis). Johnny and Eddie are on extremely good terms until a major shipment is stolen and Johnny is falsely accused of stealing the shipment after it is found in his bedroom by Eddie and his men. Now all Johnny has is himself as he fights back against the man who framed him but at the same time, Eddie and his men have a bounty on Johnny's head too! Meanwhile, Toronto police lieutenant Jenkow (Waxman, in what is merely a special appearance) is dead set towards putting a stop to the violence.

For a low-budget martial arts crime thriller, the film is quite gritty and violent but enjoyable. There are some good martial arts scenes along with a catchy score by Merhi's in-house composer Varouje and some of the scenery in the more urban parts of Toronto are quite effective in my personal opinion. Morrison and Milne play their parts quite well.

As I've said, the film has not really seen much of a release outside of Canada, but in January of 2011, I found on eBay, a rare Greek budget DVD quietly released by an outfit called Modern Times, which seems to have released mostly Martial Arts films onto DVD in Greece, including the Canadian Martial Arts camp classic Dragon Hunt (1990) and Sometimes a Hero (AKA: Cold Vengeance) (2003), the latter of which is another Jalal Merhi production.

The DVD comes in a slim plastic case, similar to many DVDs found at the dollar store or bargain bins and has 6 chapter stops. The presentation is in full screen, but the quality is actually quite good, despite some minor artifacts and glitches that pop up a few times. In one scene there is some VHS tracking-like thing that shows up, which suggests that a tape master may have been used for this release. The DVD does also come with hard-coded Greek subtitles, which cannot be removed, but then again, I can't really complain. Sound is decent as well.


  1. I forgot to mention that the audio is in English as well.

  2. Managed to find this one on Youtube.