Versus is a bizarre movie. Nonsensical, even. It’s a super low-budget cult film featuring cops, gangsters, shootouts, samurai, zombies, martial arts, karate zombies, sword fighting, and demons. It’s like the director grabbed a list of “cool shit” from the internet, and mixed it all together, hoping it would work. And depending on your point of view, it either totally works, or is a complete fucking mess.
Director Ryuhei Kitamura filmed this in 2000, and it certainly shows. Versus comes from a time when the tone of movies was more focused on wacky hijinks and slapstick humor, which is a big departure from today’s films when everything is a GRRR DARK AND GRITTY exercise in moroseness. I suppose if Versus had played it straight, nothing would work. The whole thing is just too goddamn crazy. The lighter tone is there to remind the viewer to not take it too seriously, otherwise the movie collapses in on itself. The closest thing I can compare this to is Evil Dead II. It’s got plenty of madcap antics and off-beat humor, mixed in with a semi-serious plot. It isn’t really clear whether Kitamura is completely aping Sam Raimi’s directing style, or paying homage to it.