Comparison between the heavily cut international Version and the uncut Director's Cut.
Unfortunately, the crazy cult soccer action comedy "Shaolin Soccer" with and by Stephen Chow has been cut heavily for the international audience. The international version lacks about 25 minutes. All in all there are three versions of this movie available:
- Director's Cut
- HK Theatrical Version
- International Version
A comparison between the first two versions is also available on this site. The differences between these aren't that many though. The HK version only was cut at two points in the movie and the ending credits are missing as well.
It is remarkable that besides any shortenings of story elements some cuts removing violence have been made, too. I won't start a discussion about whether this was necessary in a slapstick movie like this, but the international version was cut at some to some extent questionable points. Those cuts have been marked as censorship although it isn't always clear if this is really censored or if this was done in order to tighten the movie. The international version also features different ending credits and a new sound track, the latter won't be mentioned in this comparison, though.
Running times always refer to the shortened version- International Cut: 85:45 min with ending credits (81:11 min w/o)
- Director's Cut: 107:39 min with ending credits (105:37 min w/o)
- 103 cuts, 28 of them might be due to censorship
- 1 recut
- 3x alternative footage
- 1 color censorshipFarbzensur
- Total cut length: 1471 sec (=24:31 min)
All time and duration designations are in PAL.
After the production logos the completely different opening credits start. The international version (IV) shows only 4 screens for a total of 16 sec, then a soccer ball is shooting through the titel and the movie starts. The Director's Cut (DC) features much longer opening credits (89 sec).
After that another important scene is missing in the IV. Golden Leg and Hung are in the locker room and Hung tries to bribe him. Golden Leg isn't injured yet and so he initially doesn't accept the check, yells at Hung and ties his shoe laces on top of his head. He eventually takes the check - this explains why he fails to score in the next scene.
Golden Leg: "What is the meaning of this check? Do you want me to cheat?"
Hung: "No... I'm just the middleman."
Golden Leg: "Are you trying to take advantage of me so you can get ahead when I fall? Look at this! I'm the one and only Golden Leg! You can only dream about that."
He pulls Hung down at his hair and shows him the tattoo on his belly. When he has finished the sentence he hurls his head back against a locker.
Hung: "No...I don't. I just want some kickback. Please don't tell anyone."
Golden Leg: "You're trash!"
Hung: "I'm sorry. I'll see you later."
Hung goes away, Golden Leg stops him, takes the check and puts his dress on. He then ties his laces on Hung's head, but Hung is grinning because the bribe worked.
Difference in time: 120,3 sec
The young Golden Leg is hit much more often and screams with a face contorted with pain
The journalist is asking another question:
"So, are you confident of winning Gold again?"
Hung: "Are you a new reporter? I don't think you should ask this kind of question."
Golden Leg goes longer laughing and limping through the room, the next short starts a tiny bit earlier, too.
After the offer to take some lessons in Kung-Fu a part of the dialogue is missing:
Golden Leg: "Learn kung fu from you? You just look like a cleaner."
Mighty Steel Leg Sing (Stephen Chow, im weiteren Verlauf Sing genannt): "Cleaner is just my job. My real identity is a postgraduate student."
Golden Leg: "Postgraduate student?"
Sing: "Studying how to effectively develop Shaolin Kung Fu."
He then gives him his card.
After the demonstration of how to park a car a small funny scene, in which Sing is misunderstood to be a beggar, is missing. He says to Golden Leg: "So kung fu is wonderful!" and then asks a woman who is passing by: "Excuse me! Do you want to learn..."
She only responds "Okay...Get lost you!" and throws some change at him.
Golden Leg the means: "You should share the money with me."
Sing is lying his arm around Golden Leg and says: "Don't ruin our new friendship!"
The shot is longer in the DC and the camera pans closer to the bed of flowers.
A shot of the stirring in the flour is missing.
A closer camera pan around Mui.
Mui throuw the dough in the air in the IV while she's still kneading it in the DC.
More keading and throwing in the air.
When the ball of dough fell on the table the DC deatures a camera pan from a coworker to the table with the spinning ball.
A closer shot of the flying cattle and one of Mui whose hair is being blown out of her hair.
The guy says in another shot: "This is exploding. I'll never give up my dream of becoming a composer."
Then, in the same shot as before: "This gentleman's song is so creative and full of enthusiasm."
After the fiery-eyes effect of the wannabe-composer he dances and sings while being watched by Sing and Mui. Then a butcher joins him. He drops his meat, puts his glasses off and we can hear his thoughts: "Even if I'm just a butcher, I can also dream of being a dancer."
The camera zooms to his eye in which the fire also burns. He tears his apron away from his body and starts to dance savagely. Sing and Mui look confused, then the two dancers again.
Mui throwing Sing's old shoes in the trash can in slow motion is missing.
The conversation between Sing and Ironhead continues and Ironhead bitterness really shows.
Ironhead: "I already told you to quit dreaming. There's a toilet cleaning job. You should take it and quit dreaming."
Sing: "If we don't have dreams in life, we'll look like a salt fish."
Ironhead weist auf seine Füße hin: "You see, you're a real salt fish without a pair of shoes! How can you talk about a dream?"
Sing: "Oh, no! The fire in my heart is not easy to put out!"
Ironhead: "Why not? Just blow it out!" Dabei bläst er die Flamme des Feuerzeugs aus, mit dem er sich grade eine Zigarette angezündet hat.
Sing: "But I can light it up again!"
Nun wird Ironhead etwas wütender: "Enough, already! We have our own separate lives. Stop bothering me! I work to support my family."
Ironhead has to suffer more after telling his boss that he had an idea in order to make up for having forgotten to book a band for the evening.His boss asks: "What's that?"
Ironhead: "Combining Shaolin Kung Fu with singing and dancing."
Boss: "What kind of Shaolin Kung Fu?"
Ironhead points to Sing: "Look at this."
Sing performs two kicks, the boss only comments "It's no good for a show".
Ironhead: "He's good enough."
Boss: "No! How about you?"
The boss hits him on the head with a bottle and says: "Shit. How about your ironhead? If you don't do it well, I'll kill you tomorrow!"
He goes away and Sing thanks Ironhead, who is has shards in his face and is looking down; "First Big Brother, thank you!"
Ironhead smokes and looks up.
More singing of the two.
In the DC the camera zooms from farther away to the mean-looking guys.
Sing is hit on the head again because the guy thinks he is Ironhead.
Ironhead is being hit on the knee because the people think he is Mighty Steel Leg (Sing) he then is hit two times on the head. He is bleeding. Sing asks the clubber calling "Ironhead": "Don't you know Chinese? He's the real..."
The scene is much longer and Sing is being beaten up hard. At first the bleeding Sing is walking towards the boss who is holding the glass bottle in his hand. He then tries to divert.
"Thank you so much! Happy hour is going fast. It's time for us to say good bye right now. Let's listen to music!"
The guy with the club hits him again and Sing is staggering around saying "You crazy guys!". A guy behind him gets a music stand and hits him on the butt with it. Sing stumbles forward is hit by a trash can in the face. He goes down, you can see a drum solo.
After the cloud a shot through Golden Leg's legs from behind when is taking a leak is missing.
The IV instantly shows the close-up of the tin can in the wall, the DC features four additional shots from farther away and of Golden Leg approaching in disbelief.
Golden Leg turns back in two different shots. He then remembers himself putting the note with Sing's address in the tin can and wanting to throw it away. He then looks at the cracks in the wall again. When he traces them with his finger the hole becomes even bigger.
The camera pans a tiny bit longer to Sing and the street gang.
The camera pans from behind Sing's back past the stupidly looking gang. Then the watching Golden Leg again.
Again the watching Golden Leg, then a long shot of the action in which one can see people in the background locking their doors and fleeing. A mother takes her child to safety.
At first a camera pan to Golden Leg is missing. Also not in the IV is how the guy who just received the ball to the stomach is standing up casually. But when he wants to say something cool he only can say "Shit!", falls down on his knees again and has to vomit.
Two of his friends come to him and say: "You don't need to be so exaggerated!"
Then one of them is turning around astonished. ("What?") and the two versions show the same footage again.
A camera pan towards Golden Leg can be seen earlier in the IV.
Here the above mentioned camera pan can be seen in the DC (also 7 frames longer).
A camera pan towards the fighter with the stick in which the two injured on the ground can be seen has been removed.
After Sing went away a shot of the whiny fighter with the stick is missing.
Sing is drinking a tiny bit longer from his bottle.
A side view of the approaching Golden Leg is missing.
Ironhead is throwing another item at Sing.
Sing tries to lure the fourth brother (Lightning Hands) with his former name-giving ability.
Sing: "If you can use your Empty Hand to be the goalkeeper..."
Lightning Hands: "What's Empty Hand? That was a long time ago. You know, I even forgot when our Master died."
Additionally, the beginning of the following shot is missing.
Golden Leg: "Please listen to me!"
Lightning Hands makes a remark about Golden Leg.
"Really? So I say you're the smartest one. You see! You're dressed up."
Lightning Hands gets an old picture of the brothers out.
"This's the group picture of our master and brothers. I always keep it under my pillow. You should know what I mean."
Sing and Golden Leg enthusiastically look at it and Sing says: "Great! Let's sit down to talk about what you mean."
They want to enter but the door is cloed shut right before their noses. From the inside you can hear the coive of Lightning Hands: "I'll call you if I've time. Remember, please save a place for me."
Sing longer tries to convince the third brother (Iron Shirt), who refers to the modern world.
Sing: "Third Big Brother, think about it! If you can use Iron Shirt to be the back..."
Iron Shirt: "What's Iron Shirt? You see! There are planes in the sky. There are computers on the street. It's the 21st century. Stop living in a dreamworld!"
Sing: "But I think it's a good idea to combine kung fu with soccer."
Different shot, Golden Leg: "It's true! And there's a large prize."
Iron Shirt: "For Christ sake! You think I'm..."
When he is using his calculator the IV starts again.
After Iron Shirt picked up the coin the following is missing: He turns around again but the two are already gone. Then the beginning of the next scene in the shop: Sing is presenting the sixth brother to Golden Leg.
"He's my Sixth Small Brother, Weight Vest. This is the famous soccer coach, Fung."
Weight Vest eating crisps can be seen in both versions, however his sentence "Fung, how are you?" can only be heard in the DC.
Some part of the dialogue after "Our attack should be flawless." is missing.
Golden Leg: "Are you sure about this?"
Sing: "Of course."
Golden Leg: "Great! Do you have any diet pills?"
Weight Vest, continuing with eating the crisps: "It's hopeless. Since the virus get into the cerebellum, there's no way for me to lose any pounds. After I became like this, I'm unable to use Shaolin Kung Fu Weight Vest, or even to walk quickly."
Sing: "Yes, you're a little bit fat, but it's not so important."
When Weight Vest tells Sing that he couldn't understand because he would be able to date girls he answers: "I do. I also can't date a girl!"
Weight Vest: "Really? There has been much gossip about your girls in the papers."
Sing: "What papers?"
Weight Vest: "Oh! I'm sorry! Since I've this disease, I can't control myself."
Different footage: IV - A shot of the second brother (Hooking Leg), DC - medium long shot
Hooking Leg asks: "Why isn't my dad the richest guy, Lee Ka Sing?" , cut to Sing and Golden Leg.
After Lightning Hands has looked at the photograph the close-up of it is missing.
Ditto, but this time with Weight Vest.
Sing is training with a punchbag while Golden Leg is making remarks bout the apartment in the background. After a few sentence there is only Golden Leg throwing some things (e.g. the telephone) around.
"Your apartment is great! It's well furnished. I can't imagine you work as the cleaner downstairs, but live in the Penthouse on the 59th floor. You've good taste! This kind of apartment is so popular. This place is okay. Just little bit noisy. Would you mind if I move here?"
He now notices that Sing doesn't listen to him anymore and went on the roof.
After the egg eventually broke in Sing's hand the following is missing: Weight Vest is running towards him again what causes him to throw another egg into Iron Shirt's mouth. Weight Vest knocks Iron Shirt down and eats the egg out of his mouth while being watched by his team colleagues.
Then another shot in which Golden Leg makes Sing spraypaint a red circle on a wall in order to let him practice shooting afterwards.
They can be seen longer from above.
The enemy teams's captain makes a remark about the team before the wrench falls out of his trousers.
"From their tidy uniform and friendly face, I can deeply feel their sincerity and the spirit of physical culture."
In the same shot the captains also says "Because I'm a car repairer, it's all right for me to have a hammer." The following shot starts earlier, too.
The shot is longer and Iron Shirt tries to play the ball around an adversary quite clumsily.
Some more ball action.
Sind is being kicked in the face once more.
Sing is longer squirming with pain.
Again the injured Sing.
Some more brutal scenes of the battle are missing. Sing is crawling on the ground, Irond Head is being held by two guys and is being kicked, punched and hit with a screwdriver. Someone else is being raised up in the air and thrown on the ground while the other team's captain and some others beat someone else up.
Sing is fumbling at the motionless Weight Vest longer.
The shot starts earlier and more beating can be seen.
Some close-ups of every brother and a shot of the white flag (or trousers).
Ironhead says: "I can't stand it anymore. My bone seems broken."
Ironhead is hesitating befoer he pulls the underwear over his head. The other captain is looking more angry.
Ironhead: "Yes, I'm a dog. I don't have any self-respect."
The shot of the brother at the end (with the bleeding nose) has been cut.
The enemies mock Iron Shirt longer and Golden Leg sadly shakes his head.
The shot of Golden Leg is longer.
A closer shot of Sing is missing.
The camera pan is longer.
After Hung promised even to pay the entrance fee for Golden Legs - in his eyes - chanceless team his trying to be mean again is missing.
He says "It's okay! You guys, the lame is my friendly brother", his show is visible.
"My shoe is dirty again."
Golden Leg: "White shoes are easy to get dirty."
After a challenging "So..." by Hung the scene ends quite different than expected. Sing says: "I'll help you clean it up! I'm good at cleaning. Let me try!"
The other brothers join in by saying "This is my duty! Hey! Let me try!"
Then suddenly Sing holds the shoe in his hand and is running away. Close-up of Hung's foot. The following shot starts a tiny bit earlier.
Sing is grabbing Mui's arm and is leading her. She asks: "Where are we going?"
She manages to get herself free, but Sing grabs her again.
After Hung received the score by telephone two shots of the chering team and the amazed Golden Leg are missing.
This is the second scene that is only featured in the Director's Cut. This part is approximately 4 minutes long and shows Sing presenting Mui to his friends and having a duel with her boss.
After giving Mui the shoes Sing says: "Come on. Let me introduce you to my friends. Wow! How great this is!" He starts with "This is my friend..." but is being interrupted by Iron Head, who is spitting out his drink and asks "Are you a human or a ghost?"
Sing: "Oh, no! She's my..."
Golden Leg interrupts him: "She's your girl."
Sing: "No! She's my friend, Mui. She uses Tai Chi to make streamed bread."
The boys murmur: "Oh! She's the one."
Golden Leg: "She's a rare girl."
Sing: "Yes, she's a rare girl."
Golden Leg laughs: "I can see that."
Ironhead mocks her: "There is a long piece of wood placed on her shoulder. I've never see that before."
Mui, still friendly: "I spent two whole nights making these two pieces."
Ironhead: "Sing, it's not good for you to bring her out at night. Someone will be frightened to death."
Mui is laughing while Golden Leg says: "It doesn't matter. Maybe we can perform ceremonies for them."
Ironhead: "Hold on! We can tie her up and throw her into the sea."
Someone else says: "Don't you think you'll want to eat seafood again sometime?"
Iron Shirt wants to protect her: "No kidding! It's no good to treat a girl like this."
Mui, still friendly and laughing: "It's okay. I don't care."
Sing: "Even though she's a soft and gentle girl, she loves joking. Mui, please make a sexy pose."
The guys bawl, the Mui is posing shortly. Some laugh and somebody says "Can't you do better than that?", Ironhead is pressing his hands agains his face.
When Sing wants to touch her at her shoulder she starts to be sore, the men are silent again, too.
Sing: "What's wrong?"
Mui: "Don't touch me!"
Sing: "Are you angry with me?"
Mui, undecided: "No, I'm not."
Sing tries to touch her again, she initially steps back but then says: "I'm sorry."
Sing: "I'm only joking."
Mui: "I know you just like to make fun of me. I'm sorry. Actually, I don't care."
Sing, who unsuccessfully tries to touch her again: "Don't be like this."
Mui asks "So why did you do this to me?" and sadly goes away. A hand appears on her back and she angrily says "Don't touch me!" But behind her her mean boss is standing and screaming at her: "What's wrong with you? I just went to play Mahjong... You see, you don't look like a human or a ghost. Don't you feel embarrassed?"
When saying the last sentence she grabs Mui's hair. Sing intervenes: "Enough already! Mui has the right to decide how she looks. Can't you respect her decision? I think she's quite nice today. Don't you think she's beautiful?"
The boys just say: "You talk too much!"
Boss: "It's none of your business. You're not qualified to talk to me like this."
Mui: "They're my friends. They're talking about what they think to be my true feelings. I think I'm quite beautiful right now. I love my new look a lot. If you don't like this, you can leave immediately."
Boss: "Hey! Do you know whom you're speaking with?"
Mui: "I'm speaking with you. A cool boss."
Her boss says "Shit!" and wants to hit her but Mui defends herself easily with her hand, causing the boss to fall back agains the wall. The boss says: "You... are you brave enough to fight with me?"
Now Mui deflects multiple punches and then hurls the boss to a corner. The boss asks: "Do you want to rebel against me? Who are you?"
Mui takes a chair to put her foot on it and answers confidently: "It's me! I'm Mui!"
The boss can only say "I'm going to tell your Mom" before she is running away.
Sing starts to applaud, the other brothers join in and one can hear "Mui, you're great!" and by Iron Head: "Mui, we're just joking. Please don't get mad at us."
Sing: "Actually, your pose was so great."
It's becoming quiet again because Mui stands still and Sing is looking serious again. Mui now repeats her pose and says(laughing): "Really?"
insgesamt 227,2 sec
After Sing refused Mui's love proposal and said "We're friends forever" a short piece is missing.
During a shot of Mui one can hear Sing: "Don't you think it's good for us?"
Mui, with a forced smile: "Okay! It's fine."
Then a shot from above showing the two standing still facing each other.
Mui is wiping her tears away and holds the hand in front of her eyes.
Mui is crying again and Sing asks: "What's wrong? You're crying? Don't do this."
Another shot of Sing looking clueless away and at the ground.
Strange alteration: In the DC the shot of Sing is being faded out earlier and the follwing shot of the team is being faded in. In the IV there is no fading but the shots are longer so no difference in running time is achieved.
Longer cut, two scenes are missing. In the DC the shot of the cheering team is a bit longer and the picture is frrezing. fade to the smoking Hung who is probably sitting on his private golf parcours and is being visited by by Golden Leg. He tries to bribe him but GOlden Leg refuses to accept the money.
Golden Leg: "Good Morning Hung!"
Hung: "Good morning! Come here! You're a lucky guy. You're so lucky to get this great team."
Golden Leg: "Thank you."
Hung: "Actually, Iron Head and Iron Shirt are just street performers. It's amusing for you guys to use kung fu to play soccer, and then to get into the finals. You did a good job."
An employee is approaching with the cheque in his hands, Hung takes it while saying "Hey! Don't waste our time!Give up the finals and join my Evil Team! Hey, it's not a bribe. You can get the money before signing with me."
Golden Leg, who is looking at the cheque for a long time: "It's a lot of money. I can probably break my left leg and then retire."
Hung: "Sure! We're brothers."
Golden Leg: "Thank you. But I don't think I can take it."
Hung: "What? Do you think I'm afraid of you? I think your team has great potential. So maybe we can join together. Don't be so easily upset. Think about your future. Forget the hostility. Okay?"
Golden Leg: "Hung, I didn't keep the hostility in mind. I know it was all my fault. I couldn't blame anyone."
Hung: "You're lying! I know you too well. You're so greedy!"
Golden Leg: "You're right! I'm so greedy. My team is greedy, too. But we're not greedy for money. We're greedy for the championship. See you on the soccer field."
He leaves the cheque on the table and goes away.
Then the little team bus being sieged and followed by (mostly female) fans is missing.
120,2 sec total
Sing is running towards the shop in another shot.
The shot of the mean boss at the end and the following shot of the table have been shortened.
The shot of the excited looking Golden Leg is longer, then more of the stadium and close-ups of every member of the team follow. Shots of the trophy and of Golden Leg.
A shot of the score board is missing.
Hung is making another remark, the named persons are each seen during a camera pan.
"Actually the referee, linesman, soccer association, soccer federation and soccer committee, all stand on my side. How can they fight against me?"
A shot of the perplexed looking Golden Leg is missing.
The adversary can be seen again, then Lightning Hands putting his hand down. After a cut to Golden Leg the hand can be seen from the other side - blood is dripping out of it and the cloth is mostly already gone.
Lightning Hands is being brought away longer and talks to his team.
Lightning Hands: "I'm sorry. I should take a break."
Sing: "It's okay. You'll just physically leave us, but your spirit will remain with us."
At first the shot of Sing is longer, then Hung and his followers can be seen cheering.
Hung: "You're all injured in just the first half. How can you play the rest of the game? Go home! No way you can play the second half!"
The guy standing right next to him: "We'll be back! Maybe I can go down and dance in a show."
Hung is pressing him on the chair and says: "No! It's not your turn. It's mine!"
He starts dancing while murmuring and clapping his hands.
The topless guy says "I can't imagine they're more lawless than I am", then there is a camera pan to Iron Head.
Golden Leg is longer angry: "The Evil Team isn't that good. They're taking some kind of drug."
Pan to Iron Head answering "Call the police!"
Sing hits the bank more often and Golden Leg screams "Calm down, calm down!"
There is a row between Iron Head and Golden Leg.
At first Iron Head is responding to Golden Leg's motivational speech: "How come? If you fight for one killer kick, I'll fight for three."
Golden Leg hits him on the head and says: "What are you talking about?"
Iron Head is attacking him and the others try to calm the two down. They don't stop until they see Iron Shirt standing alone in a corner saying "I'm not sure if I have the strength."
After the adversaries have regrouped to demand the replacement keeper Iron Shirt a shot of Golden Leg and Sing with the rest of the team in the background listening is missing.
Different footage, in the IV Iron Shirt's call is different. Both scenes are pretty similar but in the DC the camera is closer and the scene is about 4 sec. shorter. The scene that can be seen in the IV is featured in the DC's outtakes at the end of the movie!
Iron Shirt: "Chun!"
Out of the telephone: "Tin?"
Iron Shirt: "Yes. I want to tell you something I've never told you before, Chun, I love you!"
He ends the call and looks heroically.
In the IV there is an answer coming out of the telephone. A voice says that this isn't Chun but Kwan. Iron Shirt then says sorry and adds that the other speaker should tell his wife what he said and that he had been sincere.
When Iron Shirt is being attacked by many fire balls some cuts to Golden Leg and Hung are missing.
Golden Leg is holding his hands in front of his face and Hung asks one of his followers: "Do you think we're too cruel?"
The guy answers: "I don't think so."
Hung, screaming the second sentence in the direction of the field: "Really? So we can be harsher."
Iron Shirt is being attacked by many burning footbals, then a shot of the shooting enemies.
The shot in the DC is starting earlier and Iron Shirt raises his head.
No cut, but an obvious censorship: In the DC Iron Shirt has blood on his face and at his belly, in the IV the blood is almost completely retouched. During the similar shot 1 1/2 minutes later this hasn't been repeated.
Sing's leg is entwined with one of the enemies' and he tries to free himself. Then two other adversaries approach and kick the leg.
The shot is longer, Sing is breaking down (cracking bones can be heard) and his blue swollen leg can be seen in a close-up.
After the sleece's cloth has dissolced because of the blast a shot of the pain-distorted face of Iron Shirt is missing.
The shot of Iron Shirt on the stretcher is starting earlier, one can see the torse being covered.
Some signs showing the numbers 22 and 23 are being held up before Sing is entering the playing field again with his newly repaired shoes.
The camera pans further back so an adversary lying on the remains of the left post.
The battle field is being shown again shortly, then fade out.
After the news article of Hung the IV shows the close-up of Sing's shoes instantly. In the DC there is a fade and Sing can be seen running from far away.
After the big poster with Sing and Mui on the cover the DC features some outtakes before the ending credits.
The ending credits are differently. The IV's ending credits are 2,5 minutes longer showing 1,5 minutes the same background as during the opening credits before showing different US-credits. The DC only shows white letters on black background.
+ 154 sec (not being included in total difference)