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August 13, 2003

Versus

I watched Versus last night. Definitely a gem in the rough, but pretty close to polished. I have to take exception with the few reviews I read that called it flawed or uneven. If you view it in the spirit in which I think it was intended, it succeeds quite well. Think of it as an homage to early Sam Raimi (around Evil Dead 2), with the style aesthetic of Pulp Fiction, and you're halfway there.

Add in the roots of over-the-top bad-guy posturing and absurd macho street fighting from shows like GTO, and you've come most of the way. In any case, it's going to assume a place next to Wild Zero and Bio-Zombie in my Asian zombie gallery.

I got the two-disc Special Edition, with the director's cut and a disc of extras. I browsed the extras disc, but haven't watched it all. Among other things it includes a short 'side story' film, called "Nervous". The main disc is like four movies in one. There is the version I watched, Japanese with English subtitles. Then there is the English dubbed version. I watched a bit of that for chuckles. It made the movie seem like a Sandy Frank extravaganza.

The other two versions are commentary tracks. I watched a bit of each. The first is a commentary track in Japanese by the director and members of the cast. It's subtitled, and seems like lots of fun. Everybody is giggling and making fun of each other and telling anecdotes about the filming.

The second commentary track is with the director and someone else I didn't recognize, in English. Turns out Ryuhei Kitamura speaks pretty good English. I watched a tiny bit of that, when he was telling how he hired the main bad guy. He was on the set for three weeks before they began shooting his scenes, so he did unit direction for Kitamura, and did all the cooking! Lots of fun to hear stuff like that.

So yeah, Alan, I'm definitely going to force you and Tom to watch this baby. It's not perfect, slows down now and then, but is overall a buncha fun.

Posted by dpwakefield at August 13, 2003 08:40 AM