Posted: 03/06/2004




by Del Harvey

This DVD is available for purchase at

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The story: Two criminals escape from police custody only to end up in a strange forest where a local Yakuza boss has arranged for their collection by his gang. When the Yakuza boss arrives it quickly becomes apparent that something else is going on as the two original criminals begin to feel even more uneasy, especially when they learn that the girl with them is also sought after by the Yakuza boss. This particular bunch of Yakuza turns out to be perhaps the most uptight and deranged bunch around. Before long bullets are flying and one of them is killed which only serves to make the already tense situation worse.

Things turn really strange when the dead Yakuza gets up and tries to kill his friends, forcing all concerned to let fly with a show of firepower while one of the criminals (Tak Sakaguchi) takes the opportunity to escape into the forest with the girl. The Yakuza put their former associate down again and chase the fleeing couple heading into the forest. They suddenly remember that they have been burying their numerous victims in these same woods for years. Just as that disturbing realization hits them, so does a forest full of zombies, while their intended prey are also about to begin a fight for their very lives and souls…

Versus is director Ryuhei Kitamura’s wildly popular genre bending film that combines zombies with gangsters and Samurai swordplay with small arms gunplay in an otherworldly dance macabre of style and explosive fun.

The actors have a blast with this crazy story, which is brilliantly photographed in a lush landscape of misty green forests inhabited by a host of the undead. The script’s twists are nicely plotted to keep your attention and amusement levels high. The whole thing is simply good fun and a nice change from the usual gangster films which are so prevalent in Asian countries.

All in all, Versus is good, escapist fun. Check it out soon.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, and teaches screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.

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