Versus (2000)

versusOkay, so I admit it, I’m a little late to the party. I’m about seven years late to the party that is “Versus,” but cut me some slack, I’m busy. “Versus” is an action zombie film, and one that I really consider a guilty pleasure in the end. Granted, the zombies are cheesy, and I was forced to watch the dubbed version, but overall, “Versus” is a B horror entry that borders on action more often than it does horror. A small group of criminals out in the middle of the woods discover that the woods actually can resurrect the dead, and really have no idea what to do. Do they fight one another, do they band together, do they seek others, warn the world, escape, or take on the walking dead to prevent the spread? Decisions, decisions.

Plot? We don’t need any stinking plot, “Versus” really just makes it up as it goes along. Other than that, Kitamura sets us up for basically nothing but dialogue that really does nothing but introduce the next action sequences, and over the top gore that works. “Versus” is a piece of trash cinema, one that’s usually embraced by American audiences mostly, but it works even at its worse. Our hero takes up the typical leather trench coat garb, characters are immensely over the top, and two cops track our heroes and are included for the sake of merely providing some laughs.

Meanwhile, it’s never fully explained why the dead are rising, a la Romero. There’s some insinuation of the forest being the cause, but I could never really understand why. And did I mention the zombies here can operate fire arms, and swords? The choreography helps the film with some sleek action scenes that I really enjoyed watching in the beginning, and “Versus” is the guilty cinema that makes up a lot of cult classics, and this is no different. For those unprepared, “Versus” gets old really fast. I’d suggest doing something else while watching, because only in the first hour does the movie suddenly get extremely repetitive, and when repetition enters, so does boredom.

Films don’t necessarily have to have a plot all the time, but what can be asked for is a consistency that’s fresh and hopefully follows some sense of cohesive flow. “Versus” really just gets boring, it’s a montage of endless fight scenes that really don’t always lead anywhere, and the writers (there are writers for this?) just fill the screen up with endless fight after fight, in spite of the great choreography, and any dread or suspense is instantly lost in a sea of monotony. It’s not worth a re-watch, but as a guilty pleasure “Versus” is an entertaining bit of trash cinema that left me on the fence in the end. Over the top gore, and tight choreography help the otherwise cheesy and forgettable attempts at comedy, and repetitive action scenes.