James Glickenhaus is my boyhood idol. For me personally he is a Grand Master of Action Cinema who unfortunately shot far too little movies! Besides THE EXTERMINATOR or THE PROTECTOR (also 2 classics) he as well was responsible for the nice Big City Thriller SHAKEDOWN and the "The Silence of the Lambs"-epigone SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS. In his mainly action-packed flicks his shoot-outs in slow motion with lots of exploding blood bags have been his trade mark as well as his exactly timed and utterly sensational stunts.
This is exactly what the fan gets to see in this 1981 released modern action classic. Still worth watching today are the car stunt over the Berlin Wall or the ski-run scene in St. Anton (whereas the slow motion jump out of the lift cabin could be seen in the commercial of the Ufa film company for years). Furthermore the ageing movie fan will be pleased to see well known faces, mainly in smaller parts: Klaus Kinski (in a short scene with two short sentences), Joaquim De Almeida (he has nothing to say), Steve James (a jack of all trades who may demonstrate some of his qualities) and finally Jeffrey Jones.
So now let‘s have a look on the two versions: compared has been the German video Release from Thorn EMI, released completely uncut in full screen (this would be the US unrated version), with the DVD version from Marketing (= R-Rated US Version), launched as a Special Edition in 2004.
As a result of this comparison one must confess that the DVD has advantage over the tape in every department (who wonders)! The frames are high in contrast in brilliant colors, has got an anamorphic sampling and the sound clangs pretty good from the surround sound system. Little shortcoming is that the DVD version is matted compared to the VHS tape.
In the DVD version only the Studio Canal Logo appears.
( 18 sec. )
Besides, there’s a different title flash in both versions:
But now let’s face the really essential version differences.
The shot dead Cop still slides down the car and then finally stays on the floor – all in slow motion.
( 13 sec. )
There is a difference between the DVD and the VHS tape with alternative frame material when the President talks to the CIA chief on the phone.
With the President’s sentence "If this operation fails…we’ve never talked about, got it?" the camera stays at all times with the President in the VHS tape who first draws a deep breath. The DVD however comes up with an insert on the CIA chief’s who twists his mouth into a scornful smile. There is no running time difference!
Alternative frame material
When Steve and his buddy walk out the Bar Steve jokingly asks him if he wants to drive the car. But he only smiles and in the background we hear the wail of sirens approaching. Now the rest of this scene is missing: The camera moves up revealing a Cop who observes the scenery. A pan shot on the drunken guy who babbling asks the Cop: "Have you ever been so much drunken as I am now?". Then Steve drives away and the Cop remains with a shake of his head.
( 15 sec. )
While the closing credits are missing on the VHS tape – there are only two text tableaus instead –the DVD shows the complete closing credits.
( 2:27 Min. )
Alternative frame material