View Full Version : my review of VERSUS

08-09-2003, 05:40 AM
Well a couple people asked me if I would review this when I finally got around to watching it. I wasn't sure if I felt up to it...until I saw the film. I was extremely impressed with it and decided I definitally had to review this so maybe people that were thinking twice about getting it would get a push in the right direction.

This is a review for the 2 disc Special Edition put out by Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters. There are other versions out there I know nothing about, and Tokyo Shock themselves have released a cut version and a single disc uncut directors cut version of the film. The single disc versions have none of the extras from the 2nd disc as far as I know.

A/V on this disc is excellent in my opinion. The picture is presented in anamorphic widescreen and has no grain or damage what so ever. The picture is extremely clear and colours are nice. Sound options we get are 5.1 Surround, Japanese 2.0 Stereo and English 2.0 Stereo. The sound is nice and crystal clear. There are also some great, easy to read English subs. My one complaint about this set is the 2nd disc came in a paper CD holder just thrown in the CD case. Not good Tokyo Shock.

Extra features. Yikes-- where to start? There is alot, so I will go disc by disc:

DISC 1 gives us the bare minimum. 4 trailers for what appear to be other Tokyo Shock releases- SAMURAI FICTION, PISTOL OPERA, KUNOCHI and PYROKENESIS (which I might add, looks great, and I WILL be ordering that disc ASAP). Also included in disc 1 is 2 commentaries-- the first is with Ryu Kitamura & the films cast and the second is with Ryu Kitamura and Keishiro Shin. I haven't listened to either commentary yet, so I am unable to comment on the quality.

DISC 2 is where things really get nice. I will start off with my favorite feature on there, which is NERVOUS, a VERSUS side-story. It runs 6 minutes and 30 seconds and is extremely entertaining and somewhat funny. It sheds some light on the 2 "officers" who played a minor part in the movie VERSUS. Definitally recommended watching AFTER you watch the movie. Next on the feature list is a set of trailers for VERSUS; included are a promo trailer, teaser trailer and theatrical trailer. All are pretty cool , but nothing special. Three pretty worthless features come up next, which are a PREVIEW FEATURETTE, SCENES FROM CANNES and TEAM VERSUS. The PREVIEW FEATURETTE runs 4 minutes and 20 seconds and is just scenes from VERSUS (sort of an extended trailer), SCENES FROM CANNES runs 8 minutes and 10 seconds and much like the preview featurette, just shows clips of the flm put together. Finally, TEAM VERSUS runs approx. 1 minute and shows a somewhat funny look inside Napalm Studios. Now back to the good stuff, we get the EVOLUTION OF VERSUS, which runs 8 minutes and gives us intros to the cast and staff and shows us some behind the scenes clips and some FX clips. BEHIND VERSUS is an extremely good feature, it runs 26 minutes 38 seconds, and shares tons of funny and very interesting stories and cast info. We hear about friendships, the fight scenes, learning lines, how the main character broke his tooth while trying to cock a gun with his mouth, how he broke some ribs and more. We even get to see clips of the directors $100 Gag Video. What is very nice is that we learn the main character donates alot of money to UNICEF. What a nice guy. Next up is an INTERVIEW WITH THE EDITOR Kakesu Shuichi which runs 13 minutes. He talks about how he got involved with VERSUS, difficulties in editing it, a bit about his career and experiances and more.. it was all somewhat entertaining. Finally, rounding everything out, we get a [I[MAKING OF VERSUS DOCUMENTRY[/I] which is another great feature. It runs approx 25 minutes and has more interviews, with the director and the cast. The director is very interesting to listen to, he talks about the Japanese film industry, CGI and the differences between movies from the 80's and 90's, beating out Hollywood movies and his influences--which include Mad Max 2, Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, James Cameron movies and John Carpenter movies. Oh there is also an easter egg.. if you click on the bug in the bottom right corner of the menu, you get a FLESH FOR THE BEAST trailer and behind the scenes footage. Its shitty and the movie looks awful. Don't waste your time with the Easter Egg.

Whew. I hope everyone is still with me. I hate writing long reviews, but this definitally deserved it. Now onto the movie..

VERSUS starts off with a samurai shredding a whole group of fighters, only to be killed by a mysterious, evil looking man. Cut to 500 years later, 2 prisoners escaping only to meet up with a group of criminals. Turns out the criminals have kidnapped a woman who must be kept alive, along with one of the prisoners, Prisoner KSC2-303. It seems like some mysterious man called "him" wants the girl and the prisoner together. Prisoner KSC2-303's temper soon grows thin and he makes a break for it with the woman into the forest.. but not before he knocks off a couple of the thugs, who then almost immediatly turn into zombies and rise again. The thugs follow them into the forest and are soon joined by a whole flock of zombies rising and other thugs who have come with the mysterous man mentioned before. Lets side track here for a sec to describe these zombies-- they shoot guns, use knives, jump, do karate , all the good shit. Fast moving, crafty zombies rock. Anyways, Prisoner KSC2-303 and the girl are on the run, while constantly fighting off the thugs and zombies. Soon enough, he will meet up with the mysterous man and everything will come together like a fine puzzle. The mysterious man and Prisoner IKSC2-303 will live up their destiny to fight, and trust me, it wont disappoint. Neither will the awesome ending.

I absolutly loved this movie. The best thing about it was, no- not the fight scenes, but the characters. They were all extremely cool and likeable. Not a single one annoying. The fight scenes were pretty fantastic, with some great editing thrown in there make for a great time. Music was top notch and really fit well and gore was pretty plentiful. The story was cool, although a little corny.

Once again, sorry for the longer review, but this is definitally highly recommended, and would make a fantastic double feature with the equally great JUNK. Definitally opt for the 2 disc set as the 2nd disc's extras are excellent. Go check this movie out ASAP!


08-09-2003, 06:00 AM
Excellent review man, you definitely got me excited for my copy that's on the way.

hell ya!
08-09-2003, 06:11 AM
Nice review! I'm kinda short on cash this month but its at the top of the wish list for sure.

08-09-2003, 06:47 AM
Great review Jeff! As usual. I'll probably order this now. Thanks!

Lone Wolf
08-09-2003, 07:35 AM
Great review! I just finished watching this, and It does indeed kick ass.

08-09-2003, 03:30 PM
Nice review, after horrorfind i'm definitely picking this up.

08-09-2003, 04:13 PM
No doubt I am getting this special edition, thus making it the 3rd time I have bought this film. It's worth it though.

08-09-2003, 06:34 PM
The best of the Japanese Zombie type films. Kicks Junk, Bio Zombie and Stacy straight to hell! Haven't seen Wild Zero yet :(
I probably like this more than the others because I saw this one first. I find, with people I've talked to, that the first japanese zombie flick they see is what sticks with them as the better one. Strange. :) Good review Jeff!


08-09-2003, 07:53 PM
I absolutely agree on this review. I've been watching this movie several times since I purchased it and I still think it's a great experience.


08-09-2003, 08:08 PM
Awesome review Jeff. This film is definitely on my list!

08-10-2003, 08:07 AM
Kick-ass review Jeff! ;) I think the added details in your review really helped give some of us a greater respect to this movie. I already have this ordered and on the way, so soon I'll be able to see it in all its splendor. :D Thanks for reviewing it.

08-12-2003, 04:12 AM
I got my disc today and watched it. Loved it just as I had hoped, it's neck-in-neck with BATTLE ROYALE for my favorite Japanese flick. I loved the camera work and gore, and the story was actually interesting as well (if not completely solid).

08-12-2003, 01:04 PM
i posted this in another Versus thread before i looked here but i will repost it, as it seems quite contradictory to the comments posted here...

just read a review of the new Versus DVD at digitalbits and the video quality sounds very disappointing...


"Media Blasters isn't known for its DVD quality, and at this point in time they don't seem to be trying to rectify that. Versus is a step up from the bad pirate copy you can find at your favorite comic/DVD shop, but only a small step up. The picture is very soft, full of artifacts and lacking in definition. The blacks, of which there are plenty, shift and shimmy with compression artifacts. I thought I could get used to the sub par picture pretty fast, but because the camera work in this film is so fluid, these problems just keep coming up, which prevents me from forgetting it's a shitty transfer. Hey, but it's anamorphic at least, I guess I can be happy about that."

08-12-2003, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by ScarredGod

"Media Blasters isn't known for its DVD quality, and at this point in time they don't seem to be trying to rectify that."

I wouldn't say that. MB has cranked out some damn nice transfers. Just look at Buio Omega, House on the Edge of the Park, and 2019. Sure, they've had some lousy transfers as well, but I think to say they're not known for their dvd quality is overdoing it. It makes it sound like all their discs look like crap. Anyway, I can't speak for Versus because I haven't seen it yet.

08-12-2003, 08:58 PM
Great review, Jeff. I liked this film a lot. I saw it with the entire cast performing stunts before the audience, which was pretty cool.

Who is your new avatar? :eek1:

08-12-2003, 09:18 PM
I thought the transfer looked great as mentioned in my review. Granted, I dont have a great TV or anything, I didn't find it anywhere close to the bashing that site gave it. If anyone else feels the same way as that site, by all means correct me.

Indiephantom- That must've been fucking awesome, where did you see that?

The amazing woman in my avatar is the stunning Laura Gemser

08-12-2003, 09:20 PM
ScarredGod - I wouldn't completely agree with that review, but I too was a tad bit disappointed with the transfer. The blacks are definitely off, most notably when it's a dark screen and you can see the widescreen bars and the black parts in the film are completely different tones. It did seem a little soft and perhaps washed out, but nothing to get annoyed about. I will admit though, I was expecting a tad bit more in that department, and I'm sure it could look a lot nicer. The sound, on the other hand, is fantastic, and I really couldn't have been happier with the 5.1 mix.

08-12-2003, 10:19 PM
Originally posted by DefJeff
IIndiephantom- That must've been fucking awesome, where did you see that?

The amazing woman in my avatar is the stunning Laura Gemser

She's a total unbelievable hottie.

I saw the VERSUS boys at Midnight Madness at the Toronto International Film Fest in 2001. :fire:

08-13-2003, 03:23 AM
I just got my Versus SE in today along with Dead & Buried, Manhunter DE and Zombie 5. So I got some viewing to do. :D