Versus is being released by Arrow Video as a two-disc Blu-ray set that includes the original cut of the 2000 Japanese zombie action film and Ultimate Versus, the extended cut that debuted in 2004.
Versus has been newly restored in 2K from original film elements, approved by Kitamura, with original lossless Japanese 5.1 and 2.0 stereo audio (with English subtitles) and English 2.0 stereo audio options. The new sleeve art was designed by Chris Malbon. Street date: December 8, 2020.
Disc 1: Versus:
Audio commentary by director/writer Ryûhei Kitamura and producer Keishiro Shin
Audio commentary by director/writer Ryûhei Kitamura and the cast and crew
A visual essay on director/writer Ryûhei Kitamura by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp (new)
Behind Versus – 2-part behind-the-scenes documentary
First Contact: Versus Evolution – Featurette on the origins
Tak Sakaguchi’s One-Man Journey – Featurette on the actor’s visit to the 2001 Japan Film Festival in Hamburg
Film festival screening footage
Team Versus – A look inside the Napalm Films office
Deep in the Woods – Interviews with director/writer Ryûhei Kitamura, cast, and crew
Interview with editor Shûichi Kakesu
Deleted scenes with audio commentary by director/writer Ryûhei Kitamura, cast, and crew
Versus FF Version – Condensed, 20-minute version of the film
Nervous and Nervous 2 – 2 short films featuring characters Versus
Nervous 2 making-of featurette
Disc 2: Ultimate Versus:
Audio commentary by director/writer Ryûhei Kitamura, cast and crew
Sakigake! Otoko versus Juku – Featurette on the new material for Ultimate Versus
Meanwhile, here is our previous coverage of Versus:
Versus is a 2000 Japanese zombie action film directed by Ryûhei Kitamura (Nightmare Cinema; Godzilla: Final Wars; The Midnight Meat Train) from a screenplay co-written with Yudai Yamaguchi (Meatball Machine). Originally intended as a sequel to Kitamura’s Down To Hell, the script surpassed expectations and ultimately evolved into a different film.
Though the film was not released theatrically worldwide (except in France), Versus managed to gain a cult following after it DVD release. In 2004, an extended version called Ultimate Versus was released which included 10 minutes of newly filmed scenes, additional music, CGI, and a few editing tweaks.
Deep within the mysterious Forest of Resurrection, the spectacular battle between good and evil has gone on since the dawn of time. When Prisoner KSC2-303 escapes from a maximum-security jail, he enters the forest believing it will lead him to a safe haven.
Instead, he finds himself a pawn in an endless struggle played out against an ever-changing background across multiple temporal planes of existence. His opponent: a mysterious man who seemingly cannot be killed. The battle to be waged between these warriors: Good versus Evil in the pursuit of a beautiful woman who holds the power to grant eternal life. But what Prisoner KSC2-303 cannot remember is whether he is the personification of good or the very essence of darkness…
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” …Kitamura only rarely lets his frenetic editing obscure the action of the film. Another is performance, which, aside from Kenji Matsuda’s constant mugging, is uniformly engaging. While the film might not make sense in places or speak to tragedy of the human condition, Versus is a hoot and holler of fun.” AllMovie
“The first 75 minutes of Versus took me on one hell of a ride. I’m talking crazy martial arts fist to cuffs, edge of your seat gunplay, all kinds of macho kool posturing and gore galore. Yep, this is a plasma drenched wet dream come to celluloid.” Arrow in the Head
“All in all, Versus delivers on its one basic promise: action, and tons and tons of action. This movie has, for lack of a better word, style. It is obviously a low-budget film, since there are barely any special effects of the computer variety, but many of the old-fashion practicals and gallons and gallons of fake blood variety.” Beyond Hollywood
“Versus isn’t high art, or what you might term ‘quality’ cinema, in fact, it’s resolutely low budget and down and dirty. It’s also immensely resourceful, keeping almost all its action to the same location. There’s a home-made feel to it that’s reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s 1989 Bad Taste and by the time you get to the end you’ll be suspecting Steve Manborg Kostanski was influenced by this one as well.” House of Mortal Cinema
“Nishimura and friends go way beyond the madness on display in Versus, which makes Kitamura’s film a bit less extreme and “out there” compared to when it was launched. It’s still immensely fun and entertaining, but when it comes to gore and insanity there are better films out there these days. That’s about the only real critique I have, apart from that Versus is still wildly hilarious and definitely worth you time.” Screen Anarchy
“Some of Versus‘s strengths lie in not being able to figure out how Kitamura can make it work the way he does. Some stuff–guys running through the forest–it works for everyone, but his approach to action scenes in this film, no one else ever does anything like he does.” The Stop Button
“With this picture, Kitamura announced himself as quite a showman. He exhibits a lot of John Woo-type filmmaking gymnastics, his camerawork is often reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s early work (especially the fist-through-the-brain scene), and the zombie scenes have a definite Romero vibe to them.” The Video Vacuum