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Death Sentence

Comparison:

  • R-Rated
  • Unrated
Release: Mar 12, 2008 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB
The movie: Death Sentence is the third film of director James Wan (Saw, Dead Silence) and is based upon the novel by Brian Garfield who also wrote the original story of the legendary Charles Bronson classic Death Wish. The film version deals with Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon), who leads a normal life with his wife and two sons. The older son Brendan (Stuart Lafferty) is a very talented ice hockey player with a great career in sight. As he and Nick drive home from a game one evening, they stop at a gas station, when a gang of young thugs raids in and kills the filling station attendant as well as Brendan in an initiation killing procedure. While the others can escape from the scene of the crime, Brendan’s killer is hit by a car and arrested by police. However, when Nick is told that the gangster could be put in jail for only 3-5 years due to a lack of evidence, he decides to provoke an acquittal for the murderer and take justice into his own hands. Later that day, Nick ambushes the thug and kills him after a short fight. This leads to a nightmare odyssey for Nick as it turns out that the person he killed is the brother of the infamous gang leader Billy Darley (Garrett Hedlund) who now seeks for revenge as well. According to the principle of “an eye for an eye” a maelstrom of violence and perdition breaks loose and no one is left uninvolved…

The releases: The theatrical version of Death Sentence was rated “R” (for strong bloody brutal violence and pervasive language) by the MPAA, no cuts had to be made. On January 8th, 2008, the DVD of the movie was released in the US, containing both the theatrical cut as well as the unrated version of the film on one disc. The viewer can choose between them before starting the film. The additional unrated footage is integrated by using the seamless branching technology.

The unrated version: By the time, the term “Unrated” has become sort of a brand name which customers hook up to. The publishers recognized this a long time ago and utilize this potential savagely. While comedies usually contain more slippery material, releases of horror and action movies give reason for bigger expectations. Death Sentence was no exception in this. However, not always can the result be like Live Free or Die Hard, as you can witness here. The longer version of Wan’s film can be better described as a director’s or extended cut. All of the enhanced material deals with storytelling and does not offer a merchandise appeal to action fans and gorehounds and had seemingly to be cut out due to the studios’ favored running time of 100 minutes. It turns out that the film does not need the additional footage, as in the R-Rated the story is already narrated adequately. Those, who are not interested in the subplots, dealing with Nick’s self-doubting younger son Luke or the relationships between the Darleys, anyway, are better off with the theatrical cut of Death Sentence. Solely the plainly more pessimistic alternate ending of the unrated version does change the tone of the film.

R-Rated: 1:45:27 NTSC with credits
Unrated: 1:51:04 NTSC with credits

R-Rated: 1:40:38 NTSC without credits
Unrated: 1:46:07 NTSC without credits

Comparison between the R-Rated theatrical version and the Unrated Edition, both featured on the US-Unrated DVD (from 20th Century Fox).

3 additional scenes
4 extended scenes
1 scene with alternate footage
1 dialogue change

The unrated version runs 328 seconds = 5 minutes 28 seconds longer than the R-Rated theatrical version.
Additional Scene
R-Rated/Unrated: 0.04.52
One gets to know that Helen Hume works as a dean at the school her sons go to. The news scene shows her and Luke sitting in her office. Luke has insulted a teacher and now has to face a curtain lecture from his mother. They discuss a penalty. Luke has the choice between either doing community service in a leisure center or doing laundry for the ice hockey team of his brother Brendan. After short moaning, he chooses the first alternative.

Luke: „Mom, that’s not fair.
Helen: „Of course it isn’t fair. But when you screw up, it’s embarrassing. I’m supposed to be a dean.
Luke: „It’s not like I killed somebody.
Helen: „Telling a teacher to shove his laser pointer up his ass is as close as we get.
Luke: „The guy’s a buffoon, Mom. I was quoting. It was, like, an ironic “shove it.”
Helen: „You want an ironic probation? We haven’t even gotten to the home punishment. This is the school end. So, what do we do?
Luke: „Anything but community service.
Helen: „Luke, that’s brilliant. Community service is a great idea. The assisted living leisure center’s having a dance party. They need help.
Luke: „For the love of God, Mom. The seizure center?
Helen: „Okay. The hockey team needs a laundry boy. You could help your brother out. Support the team.
Luke: „I’ll take the dance of the dead. I can man the diaper station.
Helen: „Last time, okay? Thank you.
60 Sec.



Alternate Footage
Unrated: 0:55:22
R-Rated: 0:54:22

Both versions show a different view on the photograph Billy is looking at.
No time difference

R-Rated:



Unrated:




Extended Scene
Unrated: 0:55:30
R-Rated: 0:54:30

A push-in towards Billy is longer in the unrated version.
3 Sec




Additional Scene (Attention: subidivided into parts for better synopsis!)
Unrated: 0:55:37
R-Rated: 0:54:37

The scene where Billy searches Nick’s suitcase is longer in the unrated version. He looks up to an empty chair. On the backrest one can see Joe’s jacket. Billy puts it on. Furthermore, the beginning of the scene, which can also be seen in the R-Rated, has a different, more menacing and murky soundtrack while the score of the unrated cut sounds more like a sentimental choir.



Scene change. We see the gang walking down the pavement until they arrive at a funeral parlor. The mortician calculates the costs of the cremation and the burial in his office. However, Billy does not accept his demand of $700 and throws $200 at him, which he finally accepts.

Mortician: „Memorial service is only another 100.
Billy: „He doesn’t need a service. Just burn him.
Gangster: „How about you respect the bereaved’s wishes, or I’m burnin’ you too.
Gangster #2: „We’ll make sure you get a service.
Mortician: „Cremation and disposal, 700.
Billy: „Look, you see this wallet right here? This wallet’s got 200 in it. And this 200 takes care of my boy.
Mortician: „200. Well…we’re sorry for your loss.
Gangster: „Yeah, I bet you are.
Billy looks at the Hume's family portrait in Nick's wallet. One of his friends asks him if he had a plan.
Gangster: „You think of something?




Scene change. The gang leaves the funeral parlor. Billy’s father Bones drives by. He gets out of his car and starts shouting at them, not wanting them to cause a sensation. According to him, they should realize that they work for him, otherwise they would have to face the consequences.

Bones Darley: „What the fuck are we all doing here? Maybe somebody’s gonna tell me when you girls are planning to put a few minutes in on the perfectly good corner I gave you, huh? And now, I get to read about gang wars, dead pieces of shit because somebody had to kill a rich little faggot. Way to make the fucking papers! I don’t fuckin’ need help like this. Listen to me. Listen to me. Listen to me. When you work for me, you fucking work for me. You don’t in-and-out. You don’t fuckin’ half-ass. You fuckin’ pay me! I say when you’re done. And when I say that, one of you leaves the little shit hole you live in after your morning needle on a pretty day. And you wake up bleeding to death in the trunk of my car, okay? ‘Cause when you’re with me, I’m your life and your fucking death. I’m the fuckin’ world on a cracker. So… which one of you boys is gonna bleed to death in my trunk, huh? Will it be you, Billy boy? Gang lord. Huh? Whatever you little fucks think is important, ain’t important. So stop it. Stop it right now. You’re good boys.
He kisses Billy on the head and says: „Buckle down for me.
Billy: „They’re burnin’ Joe. If you’re interested.
Bones: „Well, he’s the lucky one, ain’t he?




R-Rated: The R-Rated shows a shot of the empty room instead of the chair. After that, a slow fade to the next scene with Nick is made.


The unrated version runs 248 sec. longer


Extended scene with alternate footage
Unrated: 1:04:19
R-Rated: 0:59:06

Both versions have different dialogues when Nick calls Helen. The reason for this could be that the R-Rated version makes believe that Helen and Luke are at home while one can see clearly that Helen is in her office at school while talking to Nick. The dialogue change seems to correct this mistake. Some camera shots are different as well.

R-Rated:
Helen: „Nick?
Nick: „Honey, you okay? Is Luke home from school?
Helen: „Yes, we’re fine.
Nick: „All right. Just stay there until somebody comes. Promise me.
Helen: „Why? Wh-What’s wrong?
Nick: „Honey. Just stay there till the police get there. I’m on my way.



Unrated:
Helen: „Nick?
Nick: „Honey, are you okay? Is Luke okay?
Helen: „Yes, we’re fine.
Nick: „All right. Stay there. Keep Luke there. Do not go home, all right?
Helen: „Why? Wh-What’s wrong?
Nick: „Just stay there until somebody comes. Promise me.
Helen: „Who’s coming?
Nick: „The police. Honey. Just stay there till the police get there. And then go home. I’m on my way.


The unrated version runs 4 sec. longer


Alternate Dialogue
Unrated: 1:05:12
R-Rated: 0:59:55

Another dialogue change in order to restore the logic.

R-Rated:
Det. Wallis: „All right. Where is your family right now?
Nick: „They’re at home! They’re both at home!

Unrated:
Det. Wallis: „All right. Where is your family right now?
Nick: „They’re at the school! St. Bartholomew’s!

No time difference

Screen for your coordination:





Additional Scene
Unrated: 1:09:10
R-Rated: 1:03:53

Helen says two more phrases in the unrated version.

Helen: „I can’t agree with what you’ve done. But I know why you did it.
9 Sec.



Extended Scene (R-Rated)
Unrated: 1:45:39
R-Rated: 1:40:16

In the R-Rated, the camera pushes in towards Nick earlier.



The R-Rated runs 1 sec. longer


Extended Scene
Unrated: 1:45:37
R-Rated: 1:40:11

The probably most weighty difference. While the R-Rated shows Nick smiling slowly after hearing the news that Luke is going to make it and then fades out with a freeze image of the Hume home video, the unrated version shows Nick, who also watches the video but then takes his hand off his throat wound, closes his eyes and dies.

R-Rated:



Unrated:



The unrated version runs 5 sec. longer

The remaining 6 seconds of difference are caused by the credits of the unrated version, where the actor playing the mortician is mentioned. They were not added to the running time of the unrated material.
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