Compared are the International Version (identical on any Blu-ray worldwide) and the Japanese Version (on the Japanese Blu-ray)
5 different scenes
Length difference: 20.7 sec
* Additional Footage International Version: 33.8 sec
* Additional Footage Japanese Version: 13.1 sec
Different logos/credits not considered in the above calculation. Furthermore, there are a few smaller jump-cuts with a length of less than 0.5 seconds. Those will not be mentioned in the following comparison.
The four famous films with the real Bruce Lee do not look amazing on any Blu-ray release worldwide but at least, those are true HD masters. His last and unfinished film Game of Death on the other hand is only available as upscale. But similar to many Jackie Chan Blu-rays, there is a nice surprise on the Japanese release. The local Blu-ray (New Edition) does not only contain the well-known International Version but also a rescanning of the Japanese movie role in true HD. Since the original audio is English, that release can be recommended to any fan worldwide. The only downside: one has to accept hardcoded Japanese subs. A solid slipcase, booklet and poster rounds out the package.
Moreover, the Japanese Version of this film differs from any other International Version worldwide. During the famous fight on two stories at the end of the film, Ji Han-Jae speaks longer to Bruce (in Cantonese). This is where the hardcoded Japanese subs come in and there are English subs as well but that does not change the fact that it is interesting footage. Apparently, the decision to cut the scene for international releases (probably because of the different language) was made. But then again, there are a few little cuts as well. When Bruce goes to the next floor, there is some alternate footage. All in all, the Japanese Version looks smoother.
A similar characteristic can be found on the audio track: The Japanese Version contains Lee's original screams while they have been altered for later releases and the international Blu-ray master. This and the additional scene is a big fat thumbs up for the Japanese Version which makes up for the few cuts. At the end of the day, the Japanese Version is the most recommendable version of "Game of Death". For those who would like to see of the real Bruce Lee, I recommend the documentary A Warrior's Journey. Only here, one gets to see approx. 35 minutes of footage that is not in any official version. Also, it illustrates Lee's original vision of "Game of Death" very well.
Time index refers to
International Version (Japanese Blu-ray) / Japanese Version (Japanese Blu-ray)
Logos / Credits
The master of the Regular Versin starts with the well-known Golden Harvest logo. The Japanese Version starts with a text box and a different Golden Harvest reference.
International Version 0.9 sec longer
85:04 / 85:02
Before the first shot of Ji Han-Jae behind the curtain, the shot of the stairs Billy (Bruce Lee) takes to get upstairs is 5 frammes longer in the Japanese Version.
Could be considered a jump-cut due to a change of roles. Still odd though that there is exclusive footage in either of the versions.
International Version 0.5 sec longer
85:08-85:12 / 85:06
The International Version contains a longer shot of Ji walking. Then the camera zooms in on him.
+ 4.1 sec
85:13-85:29 / 85:07-85:17
After an identical cut to Billy, the versions then continue differently until the moment the first attack takes place.
In the International Version, Ji keeps walking in the room. Billy does not seem impressed. The camera then zooms in on Ji's hand shaped like a claw plus a close-up of Billy.
In the Japanese Version, Ji talks to Billy in Cantonese. While he is speaking, the camera zooms in on him. During the last words, the camera shows Billy who looks pretty focused already.
International Version 5.5 sec longer
86:12-86:23 / 86:00
When Ji raises his hand, the Japanese Version lacks a small part of the fight during which Billy throws him on the ground.
For continuity reasons, the beginning of the shot of Ji raising his hand is shorter.
+ 10.5 sec
87:26-87:29 / 87:03-87:06
When Billy approaches the next stairs, the shot (identical in both versions) is longer in the International Version. The angle changes when the pole appears.
The Japanese Version cuts to the shot from a closer distance sooner.
The scene looks cut in the International Version by the way resp. it looks smoother in the Japanese Version.
When Billy enters the office at the end, there are a few freeze frames of him in the Japanese Version (altogether less than 0.5 sec).
After the end credits, the International Version contains a Fortune Star reference (thanks a lot for all the upscales!).
+ 5 sec