Compared are the US DVD and the Japanese VHS
- 2 additional scenes on the Japanese VHS with a length of 153.8 sec (= 2:34 min)
- 2 additional scenes on the US DVD with a length of 536.5 sec (= 8:56 min)
There are small jump-cuts with a length of less than 0.5 seconds each that have been disregarded in the following comparison.
Considering that Shaw Brothers legens Gordon Liu and Lo Lieh are battling each other in front of the camera and that Lau-Kar Wing was working before and behind the camera, it is very sad that this movie is rather unknown.
The US DVD is zoomed in to fullscreen and other than that, there are only a few releases on VHS and VCD. The quality of the US DVD aka the only digital release worldwide is supposed to suck and plus the movie is supposed to be cut. The Japanese VHS however is allegedly uncut and also supposed to be the only widescreen release - still not in the original aspect ratio 2.35:1 and with Japanese subtitles, but still. Reasons enough to take a closer look at the two most relevant releases.
Regarding the running time, one begins to wonder: both versions are in NTSC and the Japanese VHS is approx. 6 minutes shorter. And it turns out it is not at all uncut. On the contrary, there are two longer cuts: Both scenes contain typical Hong Kong humor and tastelessness. On the one hand, there is more footage of the zombie-like homeless people plus Gordon Liu comes up with an abstruse plan that contains a shitload of feces (sorry, I could not resist). Things like that can only be found in Hong Kong cinema and it seems that it was too much for the Japanese.
But then again, there really is some additional footage in the Japanese Version: Starting with an additional dialog scene which is hard to classify, it then gets interesting resp. then we see the reason for the US DVD being considered "cut". On the Japanese Version, the highlight of the movie - the fight between Gordon Liu and Lo Lieh - is almost 1.5 seconds longer. That does not make the US DVD useless because that showdown is still entertaining ut it should be clear that any genre fan is better off with the Japanese Version.
Time index refers to
US DVD in NTSC / Japanese VHS in NTSC
There are several logos and text boxes on the Japanese VHS. The opening credits during the first scene from the movie are identical.
Japanese VHS 34.5 sec longer
US DVD longer
41:22-46:54 / 41:58
The mistaken identity scene is uch longer: Big Pang and Ah Yung keep yanking off towels from the faces of homeless guys but the person they are looking for is nowhere to be found. At some point, it gets a little awkward because they have upset a lot of zombie-like creatures already. A little fight follows. Big Pang needs to puke during the fight because one of the guys put his hand down his throat. Several hits follow and after each, they attempt to medically treat those spots.
Eventually they manage to defeat the leader and a small about his successor follows. Then they run off.
+ 331.8 sec (= 5:32 min)
47:59 / 43:03-44:18
After encountering only one other fortune teller on the fair, the Japanese VHS contains an additional scene.
Ah-Yun is talking to the General's daughter - due to a lack of language skills, the subject of their conversation is impossible to determine.
US DVD longer
59:22-62:47 / 55:41
Ah Yung approaches Ah-San at the restaurant and says they had to the temple the following day.
Subsequently, a scene at the village: disguised as General, Ah-San causes some trouble among the people on the street. At the entrance of the temple, he has a few problems getting in because the guards are not buying his act. Before being taken away, Ah-San kids around a little.
Then, Ah Yung and Big Pang are sneaking around in prison earlier plus Ah-San has more screentime as well: two guards are discussing that he is spending all his time on the can which is why he should not get any more food. Big Pang and Ah Yung pick up on that smell as well and it is their responsability to get rid of the mess. On their way out, Ah-San trips them up and everything ends up on the floor. Other guards are disgusted, Ah-San keeps sneaking around.
+ 204.8 sec (= 3:25 min)
84:50 / 77:45-79:04
On the Japanese VHS, the fight between Ah-San and the thief (Lo Lieh) is much longer.
On the Japanese VHS, some text follows after the identical end credits.
Finally a little screenshot comparison. The colors appear fresher on the US DVD and the quality is better in dark scenes. The zoomed fullscreen does not always show the middle section though - depending on the scene. As a result, some people are just gone.