Versus (2000) 1 brain1 brain1 brain

When a movie is described as a "Yakuza zombie movie" you expect lots of cool fight scenes, gore, and mayhem. Versus, by Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, did not disappoint. I have to admit that at first I was a little annoyed by what seemed like excessive posturing and overacting by some of the characters, but as the fighting started, it became clear that the whole thing was meant to be over the top.

The movie starts with two prisoners running through a forest and coming to a road. They are met by a carful of Yakuza, who apparently had a hand in setting them free and are meeting them on their boss's orders. Part of the boss's orders were also to kidnap a certain girl, who they also pull out of the car. One of the gangsters starts mistreating her, and the hero of the movie (the only one with any kind of name, Prisoner KSC2-303) steps in, taking her from the gangsters, grabbing a gun, and killing one of them in the process. There is a tense standoff until the dead gangster suddenly gets up again.

I don't want to go into too many details, but eventually the conflict moves back into the forest, where the Yakuza realize that all the bodies that they've buried there over the years (apparently with all their weapons) are going to start coming out of the ground. And they do, to great effect.

The movie is almost nonstop action, pausing every now and then to fill in some of the back story. The back story gives the movie just enough depth to keep it from being a random series of fights, but the fights are what the movie is really all about. Inventive and gory, but in a campy as opposed to a disgusting way, Versus reminded me a little of The Evil Dead series, but it is too much it's own movie to be called an imitation. This movie may be hard to find, but if you can track it down, it's worth it.