Directed by: Ryûhei Kitamura
Actors: Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki and Chieko Misaka
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Also known as: Down to Hell 2, O Portal da Ressurreição, Versus – La foresta della resurrezione, Versus l’ultime guerrier
Description: There are 666 gates to Hell hidden here on earth. Legend has it that somewhere in Japan’s ‘Forest of Resurrection’ lies the 444th gate. Prisoner escapee KSC2-303 is on the run, first from authorities, then from a bunch of crazy yakuza who just don’t seem to want to stay dead. He’s running head-first into his destiny over the fate of a woman whose blood is more valuable than her life and whose death will open a gateway between worlds; a gateway icy bad guy Hideo very much wants to step through. Of course, before that can happen Prisoner KSC2-303 has to die as well. Over his dead body!
Review: Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus is a frenetic, low budget, deliberately B-grade mix of some of the coolest movie madness you are ever likely to see. Passionate about films of the 70’s and 80’s, like Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead and Mad Max, and influenced by filmmakers such as James Cameron, John Carpenter and Sam Raimi, Kitamura is not only a walking advertisement, but an outspoken advocate for the Hollywood pre-CG action film. Which accounts a lot for the reasons why Versus is like it is. Being a dedicated fan of pointless action films myself, this is not even remotely a criticism. Versus might hark from older influences, but it’s the freshest thing not only to come out of Japan but possibly film in general, in quite some time.