Because of its rather dingy and violent rape scenes, Death Wish II, the sequel to Charles Bronson revenge classic, had to be censored for an R-rating even in the US. Surprisingly, the German language tape contained the Unrated version and was completely uncensored. Therefore, the old German tape is longer than any of the US releases. With the release of the German DVD, this exclusivity came to an end. As in the US, MGM also holds the right to distribute the movie in Germany, Austria and the German part of Switzerland. That's why the same DVD-master as in the US was used. This led to the result that the German DVD was not censored due to particular scenes but is nevertheless censored and thus shorter than the old tape. (Exactly the same is true for Brian De Palmas "Dressed to Kill")
However, it's a mystery why the German DVD contains the movie in full screen. The US-DVD at least has the original aspect ratio (1:1,85) and an anamorph transfer.
Therefore, it is advisable to buy other releases. Luckily, the distribution rights are held by different major-labels around the world as well as within Europe. For example, Columbia Tristar holds the rights in Denmark, Australia, France, Sweden and the Netherlands and has released decent DVDs in those countries. The DVDs don't have any extras but come in the original aspect ratio. They are in PAL and regional code 2 (Australia: regional code 4). Especially, the French version is worth mentioning as it comes together with the first part in a nice slipcase. The UK version is to be avoided. Although Columbia holds the rights to the movie in the UK, the DVD had to be heavily censored for the BBFC rating.
Besides the R-Rated and the Unrated version, there exists a third version of "Death Wish 2", which was originally produced for the US-TV market. In this version the violence is even more widely censored but it contains some new additional scenes that extend the running time in order to create more opportunities for commercial breaks. This practise is not unusual in the US. Among others, there are special TV versions of Night of the Creeps, Waterworld und Braveheart. Sometimes those versions are also aired in other countries. "Death Wish II", for example, was aired in the special TV version on Polish television. Unfortunately, there is no version that contains both the violent scenes and the additional scenes and such a version is not planned.
Due to the alternative footage that was used occasionally, it is pretty difficult to reach a conclusion from the actual cuts. Therefore, a comparison between the running times is needed.
Running time of the R-Rated version: (German DVD, PAL): 84:58 min.
Running time of the Unrated version: (French DVD, PAL): 87:56 min.
Comparison between the censored German DVD from MGM (R-Rated version and the uncensored French DVD from Columbia/Tristar (Unrated version)
The shot, in which the young guy pulls down the slip of the housekeeper, is longer in the Unrated version.
1.) A different shot of the crying housekeeper. This is hardly noticeable as the only difference is the hair in front of the white glove.
2.)In the R-Rated version the housekeeper is shown longer. (This is the alternative shot) The reason for this is that the Unrated version shows an inter-cut to the young guy licking the bottom of the housekeeper. (This is not shown in the R-Rated version) The Unrated version is uncensored but due to the alternative footage in the R-Rated version it's 9 frames (0,36 sec.) shorter.
One of the guys kneels down behind the housekeeper and starts raping her. (A couple of shots)
Annotation: This doesn't look very believable and seems overly provocative.
The woman is still being raped. She is crying. A couple of shots of the woman pressed down to the couch and the guy behind her are shown.
The housekeeper gets hit with a belt. The actual hit, which is accompanied by a loud bang, is missing from the R-Rated version but how he raises his arm is shown. The next shot, in which the guy tears the blouse of the housekeeper apart, is also a couple of frames shorter at the beginning.
Here, a long sequences is missing from the scene in which the blond guy rapes the woman. The others watch him and laugh like madmen.
However, the part in which the bra of the woman is ripped away was re-integrated into the R-Rated version after the two guys have talked with each other in the living room. In the Unrated version this part comes directly after the housekeeper has been hit with the belt. This was not added to the total length of the differences.
The R-Rated version shows a scene in which two of the guys relax in the living room. The others continue to rape the housekeeper. One of the two leans back and yawns.
This scene is not shown in the Unrated version.
Alternative shot of the blond guy standing up from the woman and another guy unbuttoning his jeans to be the next in line. In the Unrated version the woman is hit with the belt two more times. (R-Rated: one time)
The Unrated version is longer.
Another part of the rape scene is missing here. While the woman is raped, the third guy keeps hitting her with the belt. Next, the scene is interrupted by a conversation between the two guys in the living room but only in the Unrated version. In the R-Rated version this conversation is shown earlier. Both conversations are completely identical and thus don't add anything to the difference in the running time. After the conversation, the rape scene was re-cut. Now, the last guy begins to rape the woman.
insgesamt 20,36 Sec.
Before the blond guy enters the living room and asks his boss, whether he also wants to do the woman, the R-Rated version again shows alternative footage.
The R-Rated version shows a close-up of one of the guys with a crowbar in his hand. (2,28 sec.)
In the Unrated version he stands in front of a windowand looks outside. (4,48 sec.)
The scene,in which the guys force the woman to give them oral sex is longer in the Unrated version. Here, the men push her face into the pubic area of the man that is standing in front of her. (3,16 sec.)
Instead, the R-Rated version shows the guy on the bed saying something vulgar. (4,68 sec.)
When the guys leave the apartment with the daughter, the last frames are missing. The next shot of the dead housekeeper was also trimmed.
The guy spreads the legs of Kersey's daughter in an additional shot and then starts to unbutton her blouse. This is followed by a shot of his accomplice on a swing. In the meantime, the man has unbuttoned the blouse. He takes off her bra and starts touching her breasts. She looks at him with empty eyes and the others watch them. Then the guy pulls down the slip of Kersey's daughter and unbuttons his jeans. He tells her that he wants to "fuck" her. But she just keeps starring at him and says that she is weird. Then he lays himself down and rapes her.
The guy is shown longer on Kersey's daughter before he gets off of her.
The pretty graphic end of Kersey's daughter was also trimmed. Two shots of her hanging over the fence are missing. A shot that shows how blood is dripping out of her mouth and a shot from further away.