According to several reports forwarded from Nippon Cinema everyone’s action filmmaking fan favorite, Ryuhei Kitamura is going to start on Versus 2, the third installment to the Down To Hell franchise that led to the blockbuster success low-budget Japanese cult fan favorite, Versus, which starred Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki, Chieko Misaka, Kenji Matsuda, Yuichiro Arai, Minoru Matsumoto, Kazuhito Ohba, Takehiro Katayama, Ayumi Yoshihara,Shōichirō Masumoto, Toshiro Kamiaka, Yukihito Tanikado, Hoshimi Asai, Ryosuke Watabe and Motonari Komiya.
At a recent premiere for his new action horror film, No One Lives starring Luke Evans, Kitamura tells us “The lead actor [Tak Sakaguchi] is retired, but I’ll get him to make a comeback. He’ll do it if I do it.”.
This is by far, the best news I have caught in YEARS. Ryuhei Kitamura is what drew me into a wider range of Asian cinema back when I was in college. I fell in love with Kitamura’s unique blend of zombie horror and quirky comedy with Hong Kong-stylized choreography, chanbara-style filmmaking and swordplay, and explosive machine gun battles that were featured in the first movie. So when news broke of Tak Sakaguchi announced his retirement, it was very confusing given his previous statements to Monster Attack Team about making a Death Trance 2.
In the past thirteen years, I bought at least four copies of this movie, and paid a LOT more for the two-disc japanese version of the film to get a glimpse of all the BTS goods that this film offered. I since gave away a few copies, but the Japanese one is mine…all mine.
At any rate though, I guess this puts the issue to rest for now. And I seriously hope Sakaguchi will do this movie. Even if the film will likely get a new cast, his role will continue the franchise’s pure authenticity and overall aesthetic look and appreciative value for the character he became most notable for at the start of his career, Prisoner KSC2-303. (FUN FACT: The same character was also brought as a cameo at the end of Kitamura’s 2003 “DUEL” shortfilm entry, Aragami with actors Takao Osawa and Masaya Kato who just turned 50)
I must add that I would not necessarily call Sakaguchi’s retirement “false alarms” or anything. I am sure that if Sakaguchi retires, it would probably for a good reason, and I trust that the people from whom I source these updates know what they are talking about, as important as validity is; Though heartbreaking as it may be, I would totally respect Sakaguchi’s decision. And I for one love Kitamura’s work anyway.
But rest assured, if there was ever going to be one more film Sakaguchi makes, it HAS to be Versus 2. The fans deserve it, and we have waited long enough. Kitamura wants it. I want it. We all want it. And I think I can speak for most of us when I say we will all be forever thankful if he did.
So for old-time’s sake, let’s make this movie happen!
No One Lives will open in theaters on May 10, 2013.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MASAYA!
Photo Credits: Lunch, Wikipedia, SFX.co.uk