Comparison between the cut UK-DVD by Eastern Heroes (BBFC 15) and the uncut German DVD by Splendid (FSK 16)
Eastern Heroes: 91:07 min in PAL
Splendid: 96:56 min in PAL
- 5 cuts
- Cutting time: 282.8 sec. (= 4:43 min.)
Additional run time differences result from missing logos and a number of minor errors of the source material on the UK DVD. Those last up to 2 seconds and will not be itemised here for the sake of clarity (especially as only parts of shots are missing, the only exception will be mentioned in the report.)
With Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin, Jackie Chan (at that time still unsuccessful) developed his style further in the direction which made him a star in Asia soon after. As usual for films from Lo Wei's studios, the movie is a relatively serious "Eastern". However, Jackie Chan was not miscast as a revenger this time and the adventure plot has also room for some humour now and then. Aside from that, Jackie does not only use everyday things in his actions, but also experiments with animal combat-styles (as the title suggests).
In England, a version which was cut by almost 5 minutes was released on VHS and DVD. Among other things, fighting scenes with common, simple weapons were not included. Maybe, as often happens, these scenes were cut, because they are more easily imitable.
The BBFC entries does not provide any information about this, however. Due to the massive amount of minor errors of the source material, one should not rule out possibility that some parts of scenes were deleted because of the extremely bad condition of the original material. Aside from that, similar material is featured on the cut UK version and none of the missing scenes give the impression of having been deliberatly cut.
The German DVD-re-release, which serves as the uncut counterpart, already had a horrible image quality, but at least it is in the original aspect ratio. The old British DVD, however, is based on a awfully zoomed full screen master which was cropped afterwards and thus enlarged to 16:9 format. This downgraded the picture quality even more. Most of the older Jackie Chan releases of "Eastern Heroes" look like that, by the way. Not least because of the occasional cuts one can draw a comparison to the German releases within the "Masterpiece Edition" - definitely not recommended.
Anyway, below are listed the major cuts of the old British DVD by Eastern Heroes, which version-wise should be identical to the VHS-releases there. As is illustrated by the cuts listed in the ofdb-entry, this edited version was probably released on DVD in the US as well. (the dumpling-scene at the beginning has also an error of the source material on the old UK-DVD, but it will not be mentioned, since it lasts less than 6 seconds and no complete shot is missing).
In 2007, the, unfortunately no longer existing, label Hong Kong Legends re-released the film in Great Britain with a BBFC 15 rating. The DVD contains the film in an uncut version and finally in the 2,35:1 format. Furthermore, it has a better picture quality than the German DVD - still, one should not expect too much from the worn out source material. Besides, the release is out of print already and can only be purchased at high prices.
Run time indications are arranged according to the pattern
UK-DVD in PAL / German DVD in PAL
The German DVD features logos of Fortune Star and Lo Wei's production company (not included in cutting time).
04:46-04:56 / 05:24-05:34
While on the German DVD, the picture stays black during the introductory words about the meeting of the Shaolin masters, the old UK-DVD shows a still, which can be seen again later.
12:30 / 13:21-13:23
A shot of the contract killer standing further up.
59:41 / 60:40-62:46
In the middle of the fight, the UK-DVD sets out for about 2 minutes. It starts with the beggar and the leader of the Tiger Clan suddenly beginning to fiddle around with their weapons (birch vs. steel balls). Lou interferes and is turned in to the leader, who seems to have a score to settle with him.
intermediately, more scenes of the other single combats.
74:51 / 78:03-78:58
Again, a longer part of the tumult of the battle is missing, initiated by actions of Lou and the beggar against the leader of the Black Dragon Clan.
80:23 / 84:30-84:57
Starting with a view of Jackie and the monk, some shots of the rivals bandying sharp words are missing.
The leader of the Black Dragon Clan admits the murders of the other monks and states that his opponent only survived by chance.
86:02 / 90:39-91:51
A longer part of Jackie's fight against the three contract killers is missing, in which he shows some artistic actions and uses animal combat-styles.
On the old UK-DVD, the "The End" fade-in is on black background. On the German DVD, it is seen over the last shot.