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Versus

Versus


KSS Media Entertainment
~Taku Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki
DVD Region 2

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Price: US$ 46.90

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further info

Original Name  アルティメットヴァーサス-
Starring Taku Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki
Director Ryuhei Kitamura
Screen Format 16:9 Wide Screen
Video Format NTSC
Audio Japanese Dolby Digital Surround, Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles English
Year 2001
Running Time 119 Minutes
Genre Japanese Movie
Version  Japan
PAX-Code PAX0000203575
Catalog No.  KSXD-24308
Item Code  4988707543081

description

Play-Asia.com says: 

VERSUS is a fast paced and kinetic action feast that deserves a lot the hype it’s given.



Two prisoners escape from prison to meet up with some Yakuza who said they would help one of the prisoners. Things get a little tense and with the inclusion of a young girl in the matter one of the prisoners does not approve.
It isn’t long before someone is shot and, moments later, surprisingly rises from the dead.
Things get even tense and after the dispatching of the Yakuza zombie one of the prisoners is killed and moments later rises from the dead.
The remaining prisoner takes the girl and runs further into the forest.
After a while the Yakuza realise this forest has regenerative powers and can resurrect anyone from the dead, they also realise this is where they bury all the dead bodies of people they have killed…



Ryuhei Kitamura (AZUMI, ALIVE) has made quite a name for himself as a director not only in Japan but around the world (right now he’s working on the last Godzilla movie), and he can pin his success solely on one movie that jump started his entire career, VERSUS. Made on a zero budget, VERSUS proves to be one hell of an exciting action and gore fest.
Despite whatever flaws VERSUS may have (i.e. low video quality, low budget, confusing story), there is no denying that it’s a cult classic ala BATTLE ROYALE.
A lot have people have compared VERSUS to THE MATRIX because of its distinct style of action and the characters wearing black leather.

As mentioned above, the video quality is a little poor and really shows the films age (I think it was made in 1999), but despite this it actually gives it a semi-realistic look like it could almost be from someone’s handy-cam (even though it’s obviously purely fictional).
Musically we are mostly given punk rock-metal guitar rifts accompanied by some techno adrenalin pumping tracks. It suits the movie well and helps you not to take it too seriously.

As far as acting goes, none of the cast will ever win an Oscar but they all play their 1 dimensional characters satisfyingly and aren’t overly cheesy.
Acting definitely takes a back seat in this film, not that it’s a bad thing, but thankfully amidst the action the viewer doesn’t worry too much about the actor’s abilities.
Aside from two annoying characters which are played purely for laughs (and successfully, they really become the ones you love to hate), the characters are interesting and it won’t be long before you choose which side you’re rooting for.

As for the action scenes, don’t expect the sort of tricky choreography seen in Kung-fu smash hits like CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON or HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, what you can expect is an all out brawl fest between the super human and the super dead with guns-a-blazing and fists-a-swinging like there’s no tomorrow.

The gore and make-up certainly isn’t the most high-tech available at the time this was filmed, however everything works out nicely and the blood splattering and limb flailing is quite satisfactory for a zombie movie. As for Zombie make-up, not very convincing and that’s a good thing, had the make-up been too realistic the viewer would be too pre-occupied with staring at the zombies instead of watching the fast action and light hearted humour.
Speaking of gore, this isn’t a film for the little kiddies so make sure you put them to bed before watching this or you might accidentally scar them for life or turn them into psychos when they’re older.

All up VERSUS is an excellent popcorn movie (like RETURNER) and a fun one to watch with a bunch of friends. Purely light hearted with some great black humour, there’s no surprise VERSUS has become a cult classic with the young adult audiences, although older more maturer viewers may be put off by it’s “not to be taken seriously” attitude and those wanting a proper cookie cutter zombie flick screaming back to the days of Romero may find this a bitter pill to swallow.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

-Adam Kitano

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customer reviews

Average rating:  (4.5 out of 5)
Total votes:4

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Please note that opinions expressed in any review are those of our customers and do not necessarily match those of the Play-Asia.com team.

backstepprogram (15) on 14, Aug. 2004 21:28 (HKT)
Great Zombie Flick!
It\'s hard to describe VERSUS in a matter of Hollywood (or American) terms: think of it as Sam Peckingpah directing THE EVIL DEAD meets CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON starring a virile Bruce Lee -- in place of the legendary Bruce Campbell -- but re-envisioning the story with mythologic, Biblical, punk, and gangster overtones.
Once the viewer figures out what\'s going on, the film plays out its light wonderful, high spirited, blood-filled camp: three souls, all quasi-immortal, continue to meet reincarnated versions of themselves for combat-bloody-combat within the Forest of Resurrection, only one of 666 Portals on the Temporal Plane located on the planet Earth. Inside the Forrest, no one can die without facing re-invigoration as a gun-toting, sword-swinging zombie ... except for our three nameless principles who can\'t seem to avoid running into one another. (For all its foibles, \"zombiehood\" never looked so aerobic.)

VERSUS is filled with dazzling camerawork, and Director Ryuhei Kitamura achieves great mileage out of quick shots of incredibly energetic gun and swordplay. The make-up work is exemplary; when comical, it\'s comical, and when serious, it\'s serious. The actors are all very much at ease in what seems consistently to be moments of utter absurdity ... but, rest assured, it all makes sense in its own sort of violent, cosmic way.

Ultimately, the story is far more about the pursuit of inevitability than it is anything else. To search for greater meaning in a film filled with comic moments so bloody that you cringe is pure folly. Regardless, Kitamura does an admirable job keeping the action at a frenetic pace once all Hell breaks loose, and it doesn\'t let up until the epic conclusion ... followed by one epic epilogue that still keeps the viewer guessing.

Possibly dismissing as little more than just kung-fu fighting immortals of death, VERSUS presents a complex woven series of events that seemingly -- for all intents and purposes -- must play out again every 99 years (or so) within the Forrest of Resurrection in order for humankind -- or, at least, the lives of these nameless characters -- to maintain a meaningful balance.

VERSUS is great flick for budding film students, Asian film buffs, or midnight matinees.

THE VIDEO QUALITY: It\'s the reason for the four stars and not five. It\'s not completely distasteful, but it appears as it a fifth-generation video copy. At times early in the film, the images are extraordinarily grainy (ala THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT), and, while they do improve at times during the final third of the film, ultimately they never rise to the level of a respectable digital transfer.
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