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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Junkman
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2004
Format: DVD
To clarify the apparent confusion over this film:
The Junkman is NOT Deadline Auto Theft. Both films have been referred to as Gone in 60 Seconds II, which is the source of some confusion.
Gone in 60 Seconds (the original) is perhaps the best car chase movie ever made. Deadline Auto Theft is nothing more than Gone in 60 Seconds with some of the scenes replaced by an inferior new subplot about a Sheriff out to catch the auto thieves, but his plot goes absolutely nowhere (He is never involved in any of the chases, nor do they resove his storyline. He simply disappears). Many of the original scenes which were replaced have to do with the mechanics of autotheft and character development, thus ruining a great film.
The Junkman is nothing more than a vanity piece. In The Junkman, Halicki (the director of Gone in 60 Seconds, owner of a junkyard, and collector of toys) plays a junkyard owner who collects toys and just finished directing a film coincidentally called "Gone in 60 Seconds". Most of the film consists of him showing off his toy and car collections. What little plot there is consists of one of his investors trying to create publicity for the film by destroying a lot of cars participating in a road race by, e.g., dropping bombs on them from a plane, and by attempting to kill Halicki before he can make it to the film's premiere. Unlike Gone in 60 Seconds, the chases are totally unexciting, build no suspense, and do not showcase any skillfull driving (I mean on part of the fictional characters, not the stunt drivers).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2003
Format: DVD
This is honestly a better film than Gone in 60 Seconds. Toby clearly had more time, money, and experience on this picture. Gone has some nice car crashes, but they're stuck in an unwatchably amateurish film you'd be embarassed to make your friends sit through. This film isn't Oscar material, but the plot is about on par with most silly action films of today. There's lots of humor, and plenty of cars flying through the air, crashing and burning in slow motion.
Also worth mentioning is that Amazon's special feature list is incomplete. The dvd also contains interviews with a few people from the production and a commentary with the production manager (Jack Vacek) and the director of photography (Tony Syslo).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2002
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
All in all, a better film than Halicki's first, the original "Gone in 60 Seconds".
No-one is ever going to accuse the late H.B.Halicki of being a great writer, director or actor. But he sure could wreck cars. And airplanes. And buildings.
The story in this film is more coherent and comprehensible than "60 Seconds", and the overall production values (sound especially) are higher.
Plotwise, it's a sort of thriller -- junkman H.B.Hollis (Halicki) has made a car-crash film called "Gone in 60 Seconds" and someone wants to kill him before the film opens. So they sic assassins in cars and airplanes on him as he drives cross-country to a James Dean tribute festival.
And we're off to the races.
Despite the violence implicit in the plot, this is, overall, a pretty light-hearted comedy serving mostly as an excuse to xrash even more cars than in the previous film in even more inventive ways. Nicely absurd touches include the row of sunglasses on Hollis's dashboard that never move no matter how violent the maneuver, and the RFD mailboxes he hits partway through the chase.
The level of seriousness with which Halicki and crew approached this film can be seen from the fact that the sign on "Hollis's" junkyard is not changed and still reads "H.B.Halicki Mercantile Emporium and Junk Yard"; the collections of classic cars and of toys contained therein, by the way, are wonderful.
The late Hoyt Axton plays himself, and has a wonderful time doing so, by all indications.
Particularly noteworthy are the stunts involving aerobatic planes, including one in which a car jumps over an airplane -- but there are some purely automotive eye-poppers, too. (Nothing to match "The Jump" from "60 Seconds" for pure "How did anyone have the guts to do THAT?" bravura, but the jump over the stage and the parking-lot escape, for instances, are pretty good.)
Given the degree of improvements Halicki exhibits in technique and story between "60 Seconds" and this film, it's particularly disappointing that Halicki was killed in a freak accident on the set of his third production, "Gone in 60 Seconds II", and we never got to see if he would have been even better on it.
(This review refers to the VHS version -- i understand that there is/was a DVD version on which themusic has largely been replaced with generic music cues due to licensing problems. That would rate half a star less.)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
With a Titile like that how can you go wrong this was the second film for legandary director,producer,actor and true car guy H.B Toby Haliki his most famous film being the cult classic Gone in 60 Seconds this film while the crashes are incredible and the acting is notisably better I found it lacked something the story was a little had to follow and it laged a little at times but for anybody into cars,action and an all around classic GET THIS MOVIE!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2006
Format: DVD
One star (hey, I'm being generous) for acting, direction, cinematography, editing, art direction, sound recording, writing, costumes, makeup and all those other creative areas that contribute to the magic of the movies. You'll be hard put to find a single redeeming feature in this nonsense. Halicki's other car caper special, 'Gone in 60 Seconds', was pretty dreadful in all the above departments but at least it had a cool forty minute car chase, which, thanks to film editor Warner Leighton, turned out rather well but even he could not do much with 'The Junkman'.

There is plenty of chase action but most of it takes place in the safety of the Californian countryside and so loses the visual impact of a city chase with plenty of other vehicles and obstructions. Cars at speed on rural routes just look feeble.

If you want chases stick to 60 Seconds and forget 'The Junkman'. BTW, it was originally titled 'Gone in 60 Seconds 2.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2006
Format: DVD
This movie has a better attempt at a story than Halicki's previous movie, Gone in 60 Seconds, but the driving and stunts aren't quite as exciting. Still, Halicki delivers more the rip-roaring action and comedy in a way that looks more realistic than most movies of this style. The story is still feels like it was inserted more as an afterthought to the stunts and action sequences, but it was a more coherent than it's predecessor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2002
Format: DVD
I've always been a fan of Halick's films and to have them on DVD is almost too good to be true. This DVD is no exception. Junkman is another high-action, high-speed movie with lots of crashes. Some of the crashes are rather lame and were probably only added to make the "150 cars wrecked" tagline. There is one major disappointment in the soundtrack: all the original '80s music has been replaced with generic music loops.
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on August 13, 2007
Format: DVD
The Junkman is the follow-up to H.B. Halicki's Gone In 60 Seconds (1974). It is an independent film written, produced by, and starring the self-made amateur. Thus, I'm inclined to judge it with a kinder and gentler tone. The plot is centered around a salvage yard mechanic that grew into a successful filmmaker and business mogul. The viewer isn't burdened with the details of how this came to be, as this movie is all about action and not a biography. What's important to the viewer is that some unknown party wants him to die in a spectacular and highly publicized death. So while on the road minding his own business our mechanic/mogul finds himself ambushed by 4 armed assassins. Two are in cars, two are in biplanes. Our unarmed hero has only his wits and driving skills versus their semi-automatic weapons and grenades.

You are not going to watch this for the plot, which is quite thin. You will not be dazzled by the acting, the cast is quite unskilled. For heaven's sake, don't expect intriguing dialogue! This movie is the filming of a cat and mouse game with cars and airplanes. The rest of the movie is an afterthought, it would seem. The idea here was to raise the bar set by the excellent chase scene in the original Gone In 60 Seconds, but The Junkman falls a bit short.

Almost all of the car crashes and stunts - including the car jumping over the low flying airplane - are superfluous and add nothing to the great escape attempt. Careless onlookers rear ending each other over and over gets boring pretty quickly. Of course reports of a grenade lobbing airplane is going to get the attention of the police. Scores of police units are dispatched to... contribute to the gratuitous crashing. An army of police converging on the assassination attempt would have made for a much more thrilling event, but not a single unit made it that far. After Gone in 60 Seconds, it's incredulous that Halicki didn't recognize this!

Furthermore, whereas Gone In 60 Seconds wisely put the great escape at the end of the movie, The Junkman places this event early in the film. After it's over, there is little reason to watch the rest of the film, due to the amateurish state of everything else about the film. The hero does eventually confront the person that had him marked for death and we are led to believe that they will settle their differences with a man-to-man, bare-knuckle rooftop brawl. But suffice it to say, the movie ends with a whimper.

Gone In 60 Seconds is the better film. Watch it before considering The Junkman (or Deadline Auto Theft). The Junkman isn't terrible if you consider how it came to be, but it will certainly not appeal to everyone and should certainly be avoided by more critical viewers.
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on April 23, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Finally, after all these years, I have the complete two-movie set of high speed driving, spectacular crash sequences, and a fairly good story line. Both "Gone in Sixty Seconds," and "The Junkman," rate very high on my scale, and while the movies are set back in the late 70's, they're still good movies. Considering the stuff Hollywood is cranking out today, being able to watch movies from a couple of decades ago is a striking change. If you like old movies with a good deal of action, then both of these movies should be considered for purchase.
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on March 26, 2002
Format: DVD
While the Junkman was not as spectacular as his original gone in 60 seconds, it is still a great movie. H.B. Halicki always pushed the edge to give us a thrilling movie with a lot of action and spectacular crashes. It is sad to know that he was not able to take advantage of the special effects we have today. If he were able to make a movie today with his imagination it would be incredible. We sadly miss him.
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