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Can't stop the night

Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus has, in something more or less akin to order: samurai, samurai zombies, convicts, gangsters, mysterious women, zombie gangsters, zombie convicts, cops, and mutants. Most of them wind up fighting each other. I won’t try to list the arsenals; rest assured that if you like guns, blades, fists, or feet you’ll be happy.

There’s also rambunctiously zestful overacting. It’s pretty great.

It’s sort of hard to figure out what else one can say about this movie. It’s not that it’s plot-light — there’s a ton of plot, to the point where some of the plot kind of spills out the sides and runs down the edge until Kitamura remembers to go clean it up. It’s not coherent plot, but it’s plot. There’s also a ton of style; Kitamura loves his electronica and he really loves rotating the camera around a fight scene. The fight scenes are good. All the characters have enough cool to freeze a smallish ocean.

So it’s not that there’s nothing to talk about; it’s more that the volume of the movie is cranked so far up that it’s difficult to talk about it rationally. (“And there were ZOMBIES!”) I liked the movie from the first scene, and I knew I was in for a great ride about ten minutes in after one of the yakuza calmly conducts a science experiment. It’s a long way from perfect; the last half an hour drags a little, and the camera rotates somewhat too much. But it’s a blast of an action movie. It’s easy to see why this made Kitamura a star director (his latest movie is Godzilla: Final Wars, the last Gozilla movie for at least a decade).

Make popcorn first.

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