** 1/2 (out of 4)
Republic got in on the juvenile craze of the post-REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE era with this rather silly kidnapping flick. Hal McQueen (Corey Allen) gets wrapped up with a gang of misfits, led by Monte (Joe DiReda) and soon they plan to kidnap the rich Carolyn Elliot (Anne Whitfield) and blackmail her father. Everything is going as planned but soon Hal and Carolyn fall in love and when he tries to back out of the plan it doesn't sit well with the gang. JUVENILE JUNGLE isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but if you're a fan of the genre then I think you'll have a good time with it. The movie is certainly cheesy and rather moronic at times but the most important thing is that it goes by extremely quick and it's a lot of fun. I think the real key to the film are the performances. No, none of them are Oscar worthy and most of them cause laughs but I think each of the actors really deliver a memorable character. Allen comes across good as the bad guy turned good and DiReda is a riot as the leader of the 100% bad guys. Rebecca Welles is also a blast playing the female gang member who goes crazy throughout the movie and this added a lot of camp value and laughs. Richard Bakalyan was also fun as Tic-Tac. Whitfield also a very memorable moment during the first portion of the string when she witnesses a fight and her facial reactions are just priceless. The dialogue is full of fun as well as the kids are constantly trying to sound hip but of course today it just comes off silly. There are some good fist fights along the way and even a catfight towards the end. JUVENILE JUNGLE isn't going to make you forget James Dean but it's a fun little movie.