Gangster shootouts, sword-slashing violence and gory zombie horror, Versus. Out now from Arrow ( @arrowfilmsvideo )

I remember when running my video store in the 90s and 2000s’ Versus came in the wake of The Matrix. A Japanese action film which perfectly blends the popular genres of gangster films, sword fighting films, as well as undead movies with a hint of The Matrix. the film rented pretty well and at the time was pretty popular. Since it arrived in 2002 (I think it was) I hadnt seen the film since checking it out on VHS. Recently though with the special treatment wand being waved by the wonderful team at Arrow, I thought it was time to revisit the gun fu, zombie action film and it was a treat taking that trip.

The film is pretty relentless and doesn’t hold back on the neverending fight scenes, shootouts and sword-slicing violence and zombie killings , but what is the film about. as a retread of The Matrix, it certainly is not.

After a sh ort prologue sequence the main section of the film begins with a mysterious face-off in a forest clearing between two escaped criminals and a bunch of sharply dressed yakuza soldiers who are holding a  woman captive. The film then heads into one of many super kinetic scenes filled with bullets and showers of blood. Turns out this location where the gangsters cross paths is the mythic Forest of Resurrection, the site of the 444th portal of the 666 hidden gates that link this earthly domain to the netherworld – and it didn’t get this name for nothing. As one of the surviving prisoners escapes with the girl into the depths of the forest, vengeful gangsters soon become the least of their concerns as zombie samurai appear from the past into the now.  

Arrow Video have not only remastered this modern classic but have also included a slightly expanded 2004 version which runs for around 10 minutes more than the 2 hour theatrical version. Add to that 3 full length commentaries and approx 3 and a half hours worth of special features, and your experience with Versus doesnt get much better than this. 

The film is glorious, and fight scenes are wonderfully choreographed and whilst the plot at times did confuse me a little, this didn’t really take too much enjoyment away from my revisit to Versus.  If you have seen the film before, then its time to revisit it, and if you haven’t entered the world of the Forest of Resurrection then this is a great edition to take that leap into the Versus world. You’ll find here the list of the great features and details about the latest in the super collectable catalogue of Arrow Films  

You can purchase the film here


• Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements by Arrow Films, approved by director Ryûhei Kitamura
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentations of both versions of the film: the original 2000 cut and 2004’s Ultimate Versus, featuring over 10 minutes of new and revised footage
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

• Original lossless Japanese 5.1 and 2.0 stereo audio and English 2.0 stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio commentary by Kitamura and producer Keishiro Shin
• Audio commentary by Kitamura and the cast and crew
• New visual essay on the career of Kitamura by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp
• Behind Versus, a two-part behind-the-scenes documentaries exploring the film’s production
• First Contact: Versus Evolution, a featurette exploring the film’s origins
• Tak Sakaguchi’s One-Man Journey, an archival featurette on the actor’s visit to the 2001 Japan Film Festival in Hamburg
• Film festival screening footage
• Team Versus, a brief look inside the Napalm Films office
• Deep in the Woods, an archival featurette featuring interviews with Kitamura, cast and crew
• The Encounter, an archival interview with editor Shûichi Kakesu
• Deleted scenes with audio commentary by Kitamura, cast and crew
• Nervous and Nervous 2, two “side story” mini-movies featuring characters from the main feature
• Featurette on the making of Nervous 2
• Versus FF Version, a condensed, 20-minute recut of the film
• Multiple trailers
• Image gallery

• Original lossless Japanese 6.1 and 2.0 stereo audio and English 6.1 and 2.0 stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio commentary by Kitamura, cast and crew
• Sakigake! Otoko versus Juku, a featurette on the newly shot material for Ultimate Versus

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