Compared are the cut US-HD-Master (R-Rated) and the Uncut Movie Role..
- 33 cuts, among them 2 with alternate footage
- Length difference: 240.8 sec (= 4:01 min)
There are several jump cuts under 1 sec, especially in the UK Version (there are some shots that are a few frames longer though!). These jump cuts are the reason for the length difference of almost 1 min and have not been considered in the following comparison.
"Pray for Death" is one of the more popular contributions to the wave of ninja flicks in the 80s and Sho Kosugi is doing what he always does. Even though he only kicks some ass in the second half, the merciless gangster plot in the first half is quite entertaining for action fans. Especially the villain's nasty odd-job man knows how to make interesting to watch. His ruthless actions are the reason why the movie had huge problems in its country of origin. A cool 4 minutes were cut in order to get the R-Rating. In the UK, cuts of a similiar length were only - only here, the ninja weapons caused the problems (as usual in the UK). In the German Version, approx. 1 minute was missing.
Getting an Uncut Version was not as easy as it seems, the French and Greek VHS releases were uncut for instance but the releases were also zoomed in to fullscreen. As expected, only the R-Rated Version has gotten an HD release so far. In the US, it has been released by MGM years ago.
The following comparison is about the US R-Rated Version and the Uncut Version. The latter was available as original movie role from France with the original aspect ratio.
Time index refers to
UK VHS in PAL / Uncut Movie Roll in NTSC
Logos / Credits
Different logos, then the opening credits in different languages.
US HD-Master 10 sec longer
30:30 / 30:20-30:21
Two little shots of Limehouse hitting Sam's leg with a crowbar. Also, the following shot of him starts a few frames earlier.
30:33 / 30:24-30:55
The last frames of the next shot when he gets striked are missing, followed by a bigger missing part: Limehouse keeps swinging at Sam and calls him a liar. Finally, Sam does not move anymore and Limehouse's buddy points out Sam was dead. Limehouse tosses the crowbar and says Sam now would be in Jesus' arms for sure.
35:32-35:39 / 35:54-36:01
When Limehouse pushes Akira's son Takeshi away from the car, Takeshi has a bloody nose and hits the ground in the Uncut Version. Then the previous shot of the car again, they drive off.
In the R-Rated Version, the following shot of the car is new plus they drive off earlier and from another angle. At first glance, it looks like the same shot starting earlier. But the last screenshot for instance makes it clear that it is an alternate take because the car is driving in a different angle plus the car on the right is missing in the Uncut Version.
no difference (difference without the alternate shot: 2.7 sec)
40:17 / 40:39-40:41
Extended scene: Limehouse carves Akira's upper body, a little blood is leaking.
49:16 / 49:40-49:41
The burning car briefly longer.
54:24 / 54:49-54:59
After the small shot of Limehouse at the party, the scene with Akira begins sooner: guards are walking down the stairs and he surprises them with a kick. In a final step, the shot of Akira sneaking around starts much earlier.
Looks more like a longer jump-cut than intentional censorship.
56:42 / 57:17-57:18
Extended shot of Limehouse cutting his arm..
59:08 / 59:44-60:08
When Limehouse has entered the next corridor, the R-Rated Version ends abruptly. Actually, he keeps walking until he encounters two cops. He asks them to open the door. They intend to give the allegedly doctor a hand, Limehouse punches them in the stomachs, he whips out scissors and kills them. Last but not least, he drags the bloody bodies away.
59:48 / 60:48-60:50
At the end of the same shot, Akira fights back longer. Also, Limehouse has his hand on her mouth.
59:51 / 60:52-62:02
The end of the following shot of Limehouse is actually longer as well, then the scene keeps going for quite a while. Limehouse sits on top of Aiko and punches her in the face more often until she loses consciousness. Then he strokes her, puts the arm aside and open her top. Then he lifts her leg and even though a rape is not being shown explicitely, it is very well implied.
59:56 / 62:08-62:27
Limehouse looks down and Aiko, who is not moving, and then he stabs her twice.
66:48 / 69:19
Limehouse's shots hit his first former colleague (Joe)...
66:48 / 69:20-69:21
...and after the short distance shot of Limehouse, he hits the other one as well.
66:50 / 69:23-69:24
Subsequently, there are more hits at the beginning of a shot.
66:53 / 69:27
Between the shots of shooting the counter, another guy gets up...
66:53 / 69:28-69:30
...and after a cut to shooting Limehouse, he gets hit as well. Then Limehouse again resp. this has been removed from the R-Rated Version for continuity reasons.
66:55 / 69:31-69:32
Before Limehouse reloads, another guy gets hit.
67:21 / 69:58-70:00
When Limehouse flips the guy with his foot, the shot ends sooner in the R-Rated Version. The shot of the upper body riddled with bullets is missing.
67:27 / 70:05-70:19
At the end of the shot, Limehouse notices resp. hears a whining waitress. He asks what was going on because he was not going to harm her, then he shoots her.
73:45 / 76:37-76:38
Slightly extended shot of the two goons Akira surprised in front of the gate going down.
76:21 / 79:14-79:22
Two shots of Mr. Newman at the door plus Akira in between.
76:24 / 79:25-79:33
The door with dead Dr. Newman keeps opening plus Akira moving backwards again.
78:38 / 81:47-81:48
The hit guy staggers a little longer at the end of the shot.
82:07 / 85:17-85:18
Additional shot of Limehouse twisting the stick in Akira's leg.
82:09 / 85:20-85:23
A first shot of the stick in the leg. The following shot of Limehouse leaving needed to be removed for continuity reasons.
83:21 / 86:35-86:39
Limehouse grabs the stick one more time and pokes it around in the wound.
83:32 / 86:50-87:03
After Limehouse ran off, the shot of Akira actually starts earlier: he stances the wound out of which blood is leaking the moment before.
84:26 / 87:57-88:02
Right before the family flashback, Limehouse actually strikes another blow and goes for the wound again.
Alternate / Recut
84:27-84:29 / 88:03-88:04
At the end of the flashback, one actually sees the previously removed shot of Takeshi on the ground. The R-Rated Version now shows Limehouse's punch from the previous cut.
US Version 1 sec longer (difference without the alternate shot: 0.5 sec)
84:30 / 88:05-88:08
Limehouse keeps pulling the bandage.
86:17 / 89:55
Slightly extended shot of the tip in Limehouse's hand.
86:22 / 90:00-90:08
Akira does not only prop up Limehouse's feet, he also nails the leg at the end of the shot.
87:01 / 90:47-90:48
Another shot of Limehouse's fixed hands when the saw comes closer.