Falcon Rising is an action film made in 2014 and is the first entry of a planned franchise starring martial arts ace Michael Jai White in the role of John "Falcon" Chapman. He is a traumatized war veteran on the verge of suicide but an attack on his sister in Brazil changes everything and he is hellbent on finding the culprits. For that, he clashes with corrupt cops and crime gangs in the favelas. All that is entertaining throughout and manages to keep the viewer interested until the end which gives all the more reason to look forward to the upcoming Flight of the Falcon.
What's not so thrilling is the film's censorship situation outside of the US. A viewer of our German site noticed some differences in violent scenes and we began our research. It turns out that the US production studio Moonstone Entertainment made an alternate version with less violence that was said to be intended for the German market which is not too tolerant when it comes to that. The relevant scenes were shot in two ways during production. After receiving that info, we asked the German distributor Black Hill Pictures whether they demanded such a special treatment since the uncensored scenes most likely wouldn't have had any problems with the German ratings board FSK. And indeed, the label was unaware and immensely surprised after hearing what we found out.
What makes this case an interesting issue for Australian and British customers is that it could affect their markets, as well. Regarding the UK: both runtimes (Germany: 96:38 min. vs. UK: 96:39 min.) are closer together than the found difference would account for. For Australia: the fact that both markets received a Blu-ray release while the US only have a DVD edition with a different master suggest that this censored version may have been delivered to the film's UK and Australian distributors. We would love to hear from our UK and Australian readers whether or not that can be confirmed. Until then, note that we can only work with the info presented above.
Either way, the German distributor has reacted quickly and will release the uncensored version in the form of a limited mediabook release featuring the film on DVD and Blu-ray via Inked Pictures. They call it the "first-ever" uncut Blu-ray release, which also nurtures our theory.
Compared are the censored German Blu-ray (FSK Keine Jugendfreigabe) (by Black Hill Pictures / Koch Media) and the uncensored US DVD (R-Rated) (by Freestyle Digital Media).
3 scenes with alternate material, 1 cut = 14.92 seconds
1:19:26: When John shoots the goon in the head, both versions show this from a different angle. The R-Rated has a close-up that is decidedly more bloody. On the German Blu-ray it's much more harmless.
The R-Rated runs 0.32 sec. longer
1:21:09: Once again a headshot is more brutal in the R-Rated. It happens onscreen while the Blu-ray shows the firing weapon.
The R-Rated runs 0.08 sec. longer
1:25:00: You could count that as a real cut. Only the R-Rated shows how John approaches Carlo, lies his head onto his shoulder and breaks it with a loud crack after Carlo cursed one last time. On the Blu-ray, the following scene in which John and Hirimoto face off can be seen a tiny bit earlier.
1:29:39: The final headshot given to Hirimoto is bloody in the R-Rated. Not on the German Blu-ray.
No time difference