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Once Upon a Time in China

original title: Wong Fei-hung

Comparison:

  • US Version
  • HK Version
Release: Oct 21, 2009 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Victor - external link: IMDB
Comparison between the US Version and the Uncut Version (both on the US-DVD from Columbia TriStar)


- US Version: 100:02 min including ending credits in NTSC
- Uncut: 134:14 min including ending credits in NTSC


81 changed parts including
* 74 cuts
* 3x alternative footage
* 4 recuts

Cut duration: 2098,8 sec (= 34:59 min)

(The remaining difference derives from different credits/logos.)



For the American market Tsui Harks Eastern classic was cut severely. 35 minutes were removed from the epic about the Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung, here portrayed by Jet Li. Especially the first half was trimmed down significantly and introducing scenes have been taken from nearly every supporting character. Fight scenes have been trimmed here and there too but most likely not for censorship.
The US-DVDs contain both versions.

Running time data taken from the cut US Version in NTSC
Logos
00:00-00:31

More logos in the Uncut Version.

Uncut 27 sec longer


Credits
00:31-01:42

The US Version shows credits on black ground, followed by an introducing text.

+ 71 sec




01:42

In exchange, the whole lions dance is missing, during which the exploding firecrackers are misinterpreted by the Americans, leading to shootings. Wong Fei-Hung catches the lions head before it hits the ground and continues the dance. After that he talks to the Head of State about the countries future. He receives the fan on which the contracts between the Chinese and the foreigners are written.

309 sec (= 5:12 min)




Credits
01:42-04:13

English vs Original credits.

no time difference

US VersionUncut




04:13

The first shot after the credits is missing the first few frames.

1,4 sec


04:40

The camera stays on the street, panning forward. Christians approach, eager to disperse their teachings, to which the Chinese in the tea house respond by playing their instruments even louder.

Now follows a first scene with Old Man (Wu Ma) talking about his business with the foreigners.

99,7 sec




05:23

Wong and Old Man want to pose for a photograph, ending in a small explosion. Wong was able to kick Old Man and his chair out of the way.
They then discuss a bit.

55,3 sec




05:49

Gigantic cut with several missing scenes introducing Leung (Yuen Biao).

First he comes to school, wanting to be taught by Wong, but only meets Buck Teeth (Jacky Cheung) and mistakes him for Wong. After a while Kai turns up and clarifies the situation; Leung runs off.


We continue with Leungs part time job at the theater. He is distracted by Aunt Yee and knocks over his washing water.

Leung is peeking at Aunt Yee and is eventually noticed.


The theater owner bids a posed farewell to Yee, then Leung runs after her in the rain. He stops in front of a brothel and watches a show fighter. (Iron Robe Yim).

Last but not least we see the reason for the street fighting: One of the Chinese has been shot by an American.


altogether 506,5 sec (= 8:27 min)


05:53

The first scenes with butcher Porky Lang (Kent Cheng) are missing as well.

47,2 sec




07:49

Two shots of the rickshaws are missing.

7,2 sec




07:56

A shot of the waiters.

7,3 sec




08:00

A bit of dialogue: the usually stuttering Buck Teeth suddenly speaks fluent English, mentioning the reservations to the waiter.

24,1 sec




Recut
08:00-08:08

The previously removed shot of the waiters has been put back in here.

+ 7,3 sec


08:32

Why Leung runs away is missing in the US he is chased by the Triads who have been locked out by his boss. He tries to argue but then starts fighting.

149 sec (= 2:29 min)




08:34

Leung jumps into the water and the camera pans to the runway.

6,3 sec




08:43

Leung runs into a tea house but is kicked out again.

6,3 sec




10:27

Between the fight scenes we see chickens running across the floor.

2,8 sec




10:32

The shot after he guy has hit the ground is longer. Then the gangster boss smashes a board that Leung was holding to protect himself.

2,7 sec




10:56

The shot after Porky (Kent Cheng) has landed on the attackers is longer. We see bickering people and Porky smashes a board, sending several gangsters to the ground.

13,1 sec




11:13

The people at the tea house pour hot water over the gangsters. As they get up they can only yell at a clueless man sitting there.

20 sec




12:39

After the guy has hit on the table the others are startled and the plates on the table are rocking. Then follow more fight scenes outside.

13,7 sec




12:41

Startled, the people spit out the wine as a fighter lands on their table. The following shot of them wiping away the wine starts earlier.

3,9 sec




15:04

Wong keeps holding Tiger (Steve Tartalia) in a closer shot. The following shot starts earlier.

3,5 sec




15:39

The Chinese army marches outside and we see Wong running out of the way.

8,8 sec




16:47

Wong and his disciples are having dinner in his school, discussing the consequences of the incident.

80 sec




16:57

After the shot of the fan the shot of the board is missing.

2,7 sec




23:22

Wong looks down at his opponent.

1 sec


24:43

A shot of the moon.

5,2 sec




26:35

A shot of Buck Teeth.

1 sec




26:59

Porky carries the pot with water a small distance but then it breaks in his hands.
5,4 sec




Alternative footage
27:12-27:16

The US shows Aunt Yee running through the fire with her camera (later in the Uncut), followed by a fire arrow hitting its target.

The Uncut shows Yee picking up Wongs fan and alternative shots of the attack.

Uncut 4,1 sec longer

US VersionUncut




28:05

More scenes in the burning school: Here we see the shot of Yee with her camera, but longer. As she stows her camera Wongs fan falls to the ground. She takes a picture of the burning school. Buck Teeth wiggles around aimlessly with a spear.

51,9 sec




28:14

Wong picks up the fan.

4 sec




28:16

Wong looks at the burnt part of the fan and warns Yee to mind more important things than her camera in the future.

51,9 sec




30:37

Another shot of the Americans, then the Chinese get on their knees. Then we see the Americans discuss.

23,6 sec




33:04

Another shot of the people on the runway.

2,9 sec




34:33

Wong approaches Porky Lang and makes his way to the toilet.

11,2 sec




35:05

Wong and Aunt Yee a bit longer.

5,4 sec




36:14

The shot of the stage is longer as well.

3,7 sec




38:04

The Americans shooting, then Aunt Yee. More innocent bystanders die in slow motion.

17,6 sec




39:15

Spears are falling to the ground.

3 sec




39:39

The priest escapes longer, followed by a shot of enemies with spears.

2,4 sec




41:42

A close up of Tigers weapon has been removed.

1,8 sec




Recut
41:45-41:47

And put back in, only a bit shorter.

+ 1,6 sec


45:03

Porky Lang chases off a few soldiers from the Chinese army and is reproved by Wong. Then we see Leung walking across the street. The next shot of Wongs people starts earlier; Buck Teeth picks up one of the injured people.

89,3 sec




45:35

Two shots of the crying Buck Teeth, intercut by Wong.

18,5 sec




47:12

Wong talks to Kai.

10,8 sec




48:18

Before the fight in front of the fire Leung remembers that he has seen the fighter before.

27,7 sec




51:03

The blood fountain out of the mans chest is seen longer.

0,6 sec




Recut
51:03-51:18

In exchange, the following shots of Leung and the dead being transported are cut different and slower.

+ 0,6 sec


51:24

The sword on the ground.

5,1 sec




51:37

A shot of Yim in the rain, then food and a kitchen knife.

9,7 sec




52:29

First we see the bad guys dining, then Leung stealing the leftovers from a restaurant table and bringing them to Yim.

89,5 sec




Recut
53:52-55:01

Here the US contains most of the scenes with Leung and Yim but the dining is missing.

+ 69 sec


55:01

Also cut differently.

Due to the cut at 45:03 Wong still takes Porky Lang who is kneeling in the rain back into the house.
Then Buck Teeth hands Wong his pony tail that he has cut off out of shame.

95,4 sec




55:32

A shot of Buck Teeth and Kai.

2,2 sec




55:47

Buck Teeth looks after Kai.

4,1 sec




57:02

A few moves are missing.

6 sec




57:11

More dialogue between Leung and Wongs men.

22,8 sec




57:14

Rain.

1,6 sec




59:07

Dito.

3,4 sec




59:58

Buck Teeth follows Leung, saying "Stupid!", and Leung tries to get rid of him.

13,9 sec




65:49

Women behind bars; the guards are pouring water into the cage from above.

15,3 sec




70:10

Aunt Yee bars the door with tables.

18,7 sec




71:51

Shot of the gangster boss, Aunt Yee kicks him back again. Two shots of Yim cutting the ropes.

8 sec




73:53

The guy turns Yee around and blood drips onto her back.

3,6 sec




77:21

Leung is nearly buried in another shot.

2,4 sec




77:53

One of many jumps is missing.

1,9 sec


82:16

Two shots of the acrobatics on the ladders.

1,5 sec




83:02

More shots at Wonng who seeks cover behind a pole.

7,4 sec




83:12

The attackers approach Porky Lang longer.

1 sec


83:31

Kai finishes off a few attackers.

9,1 sec




83:56

Buck Teeth apologizes that he forgot to free Leung. Then the Chinese army are confronted by the Americans who open fire outside.

57,7 sec




84:31

Porky Lang and Kai are seen earlier.

0,8 sec


84:49

A few frames are lost during a changeover.

0,4 sec


91:12

A longer shot of Leung, then a closer shot of Yim being gunned down, then Leung again.

10,2 sec




93:22

Wong swings from ladder to ladder. The Americans are aiming at him with a cannon while Buck Teeth uses his English skills to heckle them so an American ship is hit instead.

28 sec




93:52

Leung dodges a few shots.

22,5 sec




Alternative footage
94:04-94:08

In the US Version the American says something on screen

The Uncut shows a camera pan towards his weapon.

no time difference

US VersionUncut




96:40

Aunt Yee looks up to the guy plummeting towards her, Wong and Leung are grabbing her arms.

2,4 sec




Alternative footage
97:31-97:35

The Uncut shows a shot of the ocean, the US Version shows a different shot of Wong and the General from behind.

no time difference

US VersionUncut




98:05

Leung is seen longer, thinking about his future with Aunt Yee but speaking one sentence out loud.

20,2 sec




Credits
98:31-99:35

English vs Original credits.

In the US Version the credits roll over a still screen of the training students while the Uncut shows additional training shots and fades to black later.

no time difference

US VersionUncut

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