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All Critics (14)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (10)
| Rotten (4)
| DVD (1)
A major splatter fest.
For a low-budget ghost-yakuza thriller, Versus is a fairly impressive achievement.
What he lacks in finesse, [director] Kitamura makes up for in pure showmanship.
Being dumb is cool, dude, and Versus is as knowingly dumb as a three-chord thrash by The Ramones.
Over the top gore, and tight choreography help the otherwise cheesy and forgettable attempts at comedy, and repetitive action scenes.
[Proves] the old adage about less being more.
Como trash, tem seus bons momentos (especialmente aqueles protagonizados pelo exagerado - e divertido - Matsuda), mas abusa com sua montagem capenga e a longa duração.
while on many levels it is a poorly written, hammily acted, cheaply produced piece of crap - damn, it's got some good a** kicking!
Mayhem, of a unique, frenetic, and almost crazily poetic kind.
If you don't have fun watching "Versus" then we're gonna have to break out the paddles on you.
Rather bizarre film which I didn't really understand until the gone the midway point to be honest. The plot is odd and not entirely explained as you are spoon fed bits of it very slowly.
Its a blend of horror, comedy, sci-fi and fantasy really, almost has an 'Evil Dead' quality to it really, that kind of dark humour with over the top extreme characters. Mix that with a kind of 'Mortal Kombat' style plot about opening portals to other worlds which lie within the "Forest of Resurrection" but only with the blood of a certain woman etc...a bit cliched but fun.
The whole thing is highly stylised like all Japanese action films...its slicker than a frogs bathing suit. The main hero has dark longish hair and a full length black leather trench coat with black leather pants, dare I say looking a bit 'Crow-esque' there. There's plenty of martial arts, sword play, clever editing along with unique camera angles. Personally I think there has been an element of 'The Matrix' borrowed for this film, well that and quite a few other films, originality is not high on the agenda.
Its well known as a cult but I wasn't overly stunned by it, its cool but nothing special really, a bit too cliched for me. This type of thing popped up a lot after that Keanu Reeves film came out, everybody suddenly realised long black trench coats were uber cool, gets a bit tiresome watching it.
A group of gangsters kidnap a girl and meet a pair of escaped convicts in the woods awaiting their boss for instructions. Little do they know that he's an unkillable demon who can re-animate the corpses of their dead victims...Well if that synopsis sounds ridiculous, it gets sillier than that! This is the kind of film where if it were done straight-faced, it probably would've been a disaster. Fortunately it has just the right amount of tongue in cheek humour to make it great fun. It has the same kind of mix of gore and laughs that the likes of A Chinese Ghost Story contains, and as a result comes across as a kind of Asian martial arts version of Evil Dead 2 or Peter Jackson's Bad Taste. Like those films, the budget was obviously tight, so you can spot some wires and there are a couple of ropey effects, but it's all part of the fun. Laugh at it or with it, it's an a musing bag of manga style lunacy and frenetic action that's basically just an excuse for constant fist fights, gun battles and samurai swords splattered with a liberal dose of gore. Unpretentious crowd pleasing nonsense.
Ryuhei Kitamura's style goes a long way, and Versus has plenty of it.
The plot is definitely light for a film with nearly a 2 hour run time; however, despite this along with its low budget and lack of multiple settings, the sci-fi fantasy concept, wacky characters, and stylized action keep things afloat from beginning to end.
When all is said and done, the action is the most memorable piece of this picture. Whether it be the plethora of guns, hand to hand combat, or swordplay, it all stands out because of its unique choreography. The lengthy and highly entertaining finale of a fight contains unique swords for both of the leads.
Tak Sakaguchi thrives more on his action than acting, but in a film where characters have no names, it all works out. Hideo Sakaki is a confident and effective villain. Minoru Matsumoto and Kenji Matsuda are the over-actors of the bunch and they just barely stay under the level of annoyance.
Versus is an action film that can be viewed as a cult classic. Zombies with guns anyone?
Versus aims to be a stylish, cool action flick with a healthy mixture of gore, gun-play, and martial arts.
Unfortunately, a lot of those attempts at being stylish and cool, end up coming off as cheesy. All the silly posing and failed attempts at humor don't do a lot to help Versus, and neither does the fact that the characters are almost universally annoying and uninteresting.
The story is something about zombies and resurrection forests and portals to hell. The word "convoluted" comes to mind. The frequent action scenes could have been the movie's saving grace, but they were uniformly uninspired and routine. The gore wasn't funny or copious enough to warrant any attention.
The acting is bad. Not "campy bad" or "hilariously bad", just bad. The kind that's difficult to watch.
If you couldn't tell, I thoroughly disliked Versus. I've seen a lot of great Japanese action flicks. This wasn't one of them.
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