Comparison between the censored UK-VHS from Polygram Video / 4 Front Video (BBFC 18) and the uncensored UK-DVD from Hong Kong Legends (BBFC 18)
UK-VHS: 93:56 min in PAL
UK-DVD: 96:02 min in PAL
- 19 additional cuts
- time difference: 86 sec (= 1:26 min)
Additional time differences result from alternative logos, the bad quality of the masters and early fade-outs on the VHS
In the time of VHS all Bruce Lee classics were only released as more or less censored versions in the UK. As one can imagine, the nunchakus used by Bruce Lee weren't popular with the censors of the BBFC. Although there are no such scenes in The Big Boss, which was Lee's first movie as a lead actor, the movie has been extensively censored. Most of the time only the parts where the violence peaks had to be removed, among them scenes with other weapons, such as chains and daggers. By the way, the tapes are not recommendable anyway. Not only because of the missing scenes but also because of the heavily zoomed in picture of the VHS.
The DVD releases from the former DVD-label Hong Kong Legends were all uncensored, since the censorship guidelines have become more lenient. To every fan, the "Platinum Edition" can be recommended. The good image quality and the substantial bonus material make it one of the best editions so far.
Time references are given according to the following scheme:
UK-VHS in PAL / UK-DVD in PAL
The logos of Fortune Star and Golden Harvest are not on the tape.
The opening credits were slightly changed as well. The tape doesn't show Chinese characters.
05:35 / 06:22-06:25
Probably flawed editing: A pan shot of the workers. Three more introduce themself before Ahn begins to speak.
31:01 / 31:52-32:01
The shot is longer and one of the bad guys manages to tie a chain around Hsui's (James Tien) neck. The latter fights back and pulls the chain away after some choking. The tape continues in the middle of that shot.
31:30 / 32:30-32:35
The shot is longer: Hsui continues defending himself against the enemies with the stick in his hand. The guy with the chain attacks him.
40:50 / 41:56-42:01
The shot starts earlier: More brawling. The bad guy with the stick hits somebody's head with it.
41:00 / 42:11-42:15
The guy with the sticks lands another blow at the head of a guy, who then collapses in a close-up - After that the tape continues with the same shot.
41:26 / 42:41-42:43
The bad guy catches his opponent with pliers but the latter can free himself again.
41:29 / 42:46-42:49
The bad guy gets punched in the face followed by a knie thrust. Then Cheng is shown at the sideline.
41:44 / 43:04-43:07
The worker hits his opponent with a stick one more time and the following shot starts earlier: The guy with the stick receives some more blows with the weapon he had lost or rather this is the reason why he falls down when the tape continues.
42:35 / 43:58-44:05
Another worker is beaten with a chain.
43:50 / 45:20-45:23
Actually Chen's kick is followed by a shot of his opponent staggering backwards with a bloody face. Another one is beaten after him and the following shot was cropped due to reasons of coherence. (The tape makes it look as if Chen's kick was meant for the next opponent.)
62:20 / 63:53-63:54
Again flawed editing: Boss Mi whispers longer with his son.
76:42 / 78:16-78:20
Cheng pulls out the dagger from the body of the attacker in the same shot. Then somebody with a chain comes from above and his thrown to the ground with it. Cheng jumps up with the dagger and stabs the guy.
(The tape continues when Cheng pulls back his arm and it looks as if it was meant for a previous opponent.)
Annotation: Due to the zoomed in picture, the viewer cannot see the blood gushing into the picture. This doesn't constitute censorship, but it shows the disadvantages of the full screen version.
76:51 / 78:29-78:32
Chen is shown throwing the dagger and it lands in the chest of a bad guy.
79:29 / 81:11-81:14
The shot is longer: Mi's son falls down to the side.
86:42 / 88:27-88:31
The guy in the red shirt gets the knife stabbed into his belly in a close-up. Then another attacks him while he is staggering out of the picture.
86:57 / 88:46-89:02
First, the long shot is significantly longer. Then Mi steps forward. Chen starts walking over to him, during which another guy tries to attack him - Back over his shoulder Cheng throws a knife at the attacker. The knife ends up in his chest.
89:30 / 91:35-91:36
Mi is hit on his head again. This is followed by a shot of him from the side.
The following three changes are not censorship. They are a feature of the master that was used, because those changes are also on the German tape and the old DVD from the US.
91:58 / 94:04
Mi is shown slightly longer with the knife in his belly before Cheng stands up.
92:00 / 94:06-94:13
Now, the more complicated part, since this scene exists in different version around the world. The UK tape, in contrast to the most common versions ((HKL UK-DVD and new US-DVD), doesn't show an additional second of Cheng's hands on Mi's chest and then the complete pan shot of the bloody belly.
92:01-92:08 / 94:14
This is followed by a second that is identical in each version. After that only the tape version shows the ending of that particular shot. (The ending of the shot can also be found on the German tape and the US DVD)
+ 7,4 sec
The captions of "The End" are different.