My Cultural Diet

Quick reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective, non-scientific, and subject to change. May contain affiliate links.

3.5 out of 5 stars


I loved Versus when I first saw it back in the early ’00s — its zombie/martial arts/gangster storyline had “cult hit” written all over it — but it’d been at least 15 years since my last viewing. Watching it now, the film’s flaws are more apparent. Specifically, Ryûhei Kitamura’s debut feature is about 30 minutes too long, what with all of the whip pans, dolly zooms, slow-motion, and shaky cam. And parts that I once found hilarious are not quite so much anymore. Still, its blend of Sam Raimi-influenced camerawork, Matrix-esque action, zombie gore, and yakuza flair is entertaining and even inspiring at times. Versus was reportedly shot for $10,000, which makes what you actually see all the more impressive. Kitamura and his cast and crew fully embraced their limitations, which forced them to get clever with, well, everything you see, from the practical effects and martial arts choreography to the film’s depiction of the supernatural through clever cinematography. In other words, Versus is proof that when it comes to making memorable films, imagination and creativity can trump a big budget. (Read my review)

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