IN SEARCH OF THE UNCUT VERSION
In this section i will provide information on cut and alternate versions of Asian movies. Of course this list can never be close to complete, so i want to duscuss some popular cases for the beginning. Note: All films are in widescreen aspect ratio if not mentioned otherwise.
BLACK MASK Ultracool 90ies action mayhem starring Jet Lee. The VCD, DVD, LD and VHS versions from HK are heavily cut for the sake of a 'IIb' rating. It lacks lots of action while the story appears to be intact. The international version - as distributed on DVD and VHS in the US (rated R), Germany ('18') and the UK ('18') - is also recut but in a different way: Here all the action and gore is intact, but more than 10 minutes of plot are missing. The international version is not a censorship case like the HK version, some scenes were assumed being too longish by the distributors. The only version which contains all sequences from both versions mentioned is the Taiwanese version, available DVD, LD and VHS from Ritek. LD and VHS are hard to find, but the DVD should be still available.
FULL CONTACT All old HK releases (by Golden Cinema City) of Ringo Lam's action movie are censored in several sequences. British release (by Made in HongKong) is based on the HK verion but sports some additional cuts which were required by the BBFC for a '18' rating. Japanese version is uncut but contains (as usual) the Mandarin dubbing track and Japanese subs. Spanish PAL Version is uncut, too but again: dubbed into spanish, no subs. Probably still the best version is the new HK release (VCD and DVD, both showing a 'II' rating) which is full uncut with original Cantonese dialogues... only problem: VCD version has no subs again but still i do think that this is the most delectable version of the movie. The DVD's picture is (by HK standards) very good so this disc is a must.
FIST OF LEGEND This cool Kung Fu movie (director: Gordon Chan) is a remake of the Bruce Lee classic FIST OF FURY (US title: THE CHINESE CONNECTION) starring several times Chinese Wu Shu champion Jet Lee as the Bruce Lee character. The HK version (rated 'IIb') - identical with both the US (from Tai Seng, unrated) and UK (from Made in HongKong, rated '18') version - is not exactly censored but there is another cut of the film which is about 8 minutes longer. It's available on DVD from Taiwan - I got a VCD from Malaysia which contains the same version.
The longer version is definetly worth a buy because most of the addiotional footage is fighting.
HARDBOILED As FULL CONTACT, John Woo's last HK movie is censored in all old HK releases (LD and VHS, rated 'II'). Again, there is a new uncut release on DVD (optional subs) and VCD (no subs). Of course the US Criterion release (rated 'R') is uncut. The old British version (from Tartan Video, rated '18') contained one small cut but there is a new DVD from the same company which is complete.
Also, I got my hands on a VHS version from Taiwanese company Long Shong (NTSC) which appears to have a signifficantly longer runtime than the other uncut versions... I didn't watch the tape yet so I'll let you know if that tape contains any additional material (which I don't believe but let's see).
THE UNTOLD STORY Infamous Category III flick starring everybody's darling Anthony Wong as a man-butchering psycho. Unfortunately the HK version lacks most of the gore. I own a tape from Thailand (Thai dubbing, fullscreen, no subs) which is also cut but in a different way than the HK version. Only uncut release is the VHS, LD and DVD from US company Tai Seng (not rated).
Anthony Wong won the 1993 HK Film Award "Best Actor" for his appearance as the madman in this movie. Definetly not suitable for everyone, but worth a look if you dare - very disturbing stuff.
(Sorry, no image at the moment.) DR. LAMB Category III sleaze again, this time starring Simon Yam. The old HK VHS, LD and VCD (from Star Entertainment) lack even more stuff than THE UNTOLD STORY and had no subs. There is a new release with subtitles but i don't know about censorship yet. I'll let you know as soon as i find out.