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Fatal Flying Guillotine

original title: Yin Yang Xue Di Zi

Comparison:

  • UK DVD
  • Reconstructed Original Version
Release: May 27, 2016 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB
Compared are the cut German VHS (identical to the UK and US DVD) and the Reconstructed Original Version (available on the German Blu-ray by T.V.P.)


- 26 cuts, among them 10 additional missing violent scenes on the VHS (= not removed from the German Blu-ray)
- Difference: 621.7 sec (= 10:22 min)

Also, there are 15 little scenes during which the VHS is longer: 29.8 sec



Background


In the Hong Kong movie world, a productive formula has always been copied like a gazillion times. After the Shaw Brothers success The Flying Guillotine, dozens of small studios made movies with that very same weapon in the mid 70s. Internationally known is probably The One Armed Boxer vs. the Flying Guillotine which is also one of Tarantino's favorites. Here, Wang Yu plays his usual role as one-armed avenger who encounters a guillotine fighter. The here compared Fatal Flying Guillotine is another one of these "copies" which is worth your while. With Carter Wong & Chen Sing, the lead characters are played by two familiar faces.

Unfortunately, this movie is (was) one of the many examples of which a decent version is (was) really hard to get. The German VHS lacks approx. 10 minutes with both missing violence and plot scenes. Sadly, this version was also released in the US and the UK - including the German title in the opening. In addition to that, an uncut version was released in the US. But unfortunately, it is simply a VHS copy with an incorrect aspect ratio (fullscreen instead of 2.35:1). However, the German label "T.V.P." released the first Blu-ray worldwide based on the only known HD master. For this comparison, said Blu-ray was available and it contains two important versions for this comparison:
TVP Version(HD)
Reconstructed Original Version (SD)



The Versions on the German Blu-ray


First of all, the so-called TVP Version (that is what the label calls it) requires an explanation. The HD master is from Germany which means there are also 10 minutes missing. In detail, this version even lacks a little more footage than the German VHS. Since especially missing violence is an absolutely no-go in a martial arts flick, the decision to put the missing action back in in the HD master was made. In order to seperate this version from other German versions, the label decided to call it TVP Version. So far, so good. The problem is: Because of that, there are scenes with awful fullscreen upscale footage in it now (sadly, those scenes could not be found in a better quality). At least, there is no missing violence anymore.

The "Reconstructed Original Version" in the bonus section is also based on the HD master - any other missing plot scene has been added here. Since there are a lot more changes to material with worse quality, the decision to only put this version in SD on the Blu-ray was made. Otherwise, the quality differences would be much higher. And as one can see in the following comparison: One does not miss any kind of elementary scene when watching the TVP Version. The missing footage in that version is so irrelevant that the shorter version can be recommended without worries. But of course, it is nice that the uncut version has been reconstructed in the best quality possible.



The German VHS (= US/UK DVD)


As already indicated, the US and UK DVD contain the German VHS version (including the German title). At least, an uncut version was released in the US but due to bad quality and an incorrect aspect ratio, you can crapcan that. In the end, both huge English markets are only familiar with the crappy German VHS which contains both missing violence and plot scenes. As for the missing violence, the cuts are small and there is still violence in the movie but that does not change the fact that this version was crappy, is crappy and always will be crappy.

Interestingly enough, it is quite obvious that the "Reconstructed Original Version" still does lack some footage although it was built upon several different versions. It goes even further than that: The German VHS contains footage that did not make it in the Reconstructed Original Version. It is not much and quite unspectacular but still - minor jump-cuts with a length of less than 0.5 seconds not considered. But this explains why the "TVP Version" is still a little shorter than the German VHS - despite the added footage.



Time index refers to
German VHS in PAL / Reconstructed Original Version in PAL
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Logos / Credits

The Reconstructed Original Version begins with a warning of the different quality of the scenes, followed by a logo of a production company.

On the other hand, the German VHS starts approx. 5 seconds earlier with the introductor text box. The TVP master instantaneously starts with the second paragraph while the text is complete on the German VHS.

Reconstructed Original Version 21.8 sec longer

German VHSReconstructed Original Version




00:30 / 00:52-00:57

The final text box however is a little longer on the screen. Probably that the voice-over can be finished because after all, it is quite long.

5.1 sec




Credits

Approx. 3 minutes later, the title pops up. In the Reconstructed Original Version, the international title has been added.


German VHSReconstructed Original Version




Cut Equals the TVP Version
12:05 / 12:31-13:35

Before the third challenge begins, Piao has a conversation with some old guy who promises him a cure from the book "Dharmal" for his mother. In order to get it, Piao needs to pass three shaolin challenges.
The following scene with the abbot begins earlier as well. He wants to know the reason why Piao intends to do the challenges and Piao tells him.

Last but not least, an intercut to the good master in the middle of the shot.

64.4 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
14:17 / 15:47-16:30

After failing the challenge, the abbot actually talks to other monks (resp. their conversation starts much earlier).
It is about Shen and the deadliness of his flying guillotine and the successor of the Prince who has been ruling for years. Allegedly, the 4th Prince has sent some people to ally with Shen. Another monk comes to the conclusion that Shen needs to be killed as quickly as possible.

43.2 sec




18:44-18:46 / 20:55

This is where it gets interesting because the German VHS is (except for a few minor jump-cuts with a length of less than 0.5 sec before) a little longer. The shot of the people crossing the woods is much longer on VHS.

It looks like there was a rather huge jump-cut in the HD reel because the subsequent shot has been added to the Reconstructed Original Version from a different source (probably from the German VHS!). Does not change the fact that those 2 (admittedly redundant) seconds are missing.

+ 2.1 sec




26:24-26:28 / 28:31

When the abbot hands over the book, there are two longer shots on the German VHS. In order for his comment not getting lost, it now ends during the following shot even though one can assume that there is no lip movement anymore.

+ 4.4 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
30:29 / 32:32-32:52

Piao's conversation with his mother is longer (the image quality changes in the middle of it).
His mom is sceptical regarding all the ineffective meds over the last years but Piao points out these meds were all from the book Dharmal which is why they would help guaranteed.

20 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
31:38 / 34:01-34:50

Piao's mother's comment is more explicit. She explains Piao's father had left her and her son because he loved fighting so very much. For that reason, she wishes Piao would not be a warrior anymore after her death. She adds that 20 years before, his uncle had searched for his father but he had never returned.

49.4 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
32:13 / 35:25-36:45

Some advising at the monastry before the yard scene begins.

20 years ago (what a coincidence), Shen sougt sanctuary at the monastry in order to get his hands on the book he could use to cure his desease. But during the thrid test, he had a heart attack and never returned. Allegedly, he is in Death Valley now because some gas that is leaking there is some kind of cure for his heart condition. The two other masters worry about Shen working with Ching and pronounce attacks.
The abbot would like to discuss who to send but noises from outside make him check it out. All of that has also been witnessed through a peephole by someone who is now leaving as well.

80.1 sec




36:05-36:09 / 40:37

After Piao's flip, only the German VHS contains the shot of him landing. The shot of Tsiao Wei starts earlier as well: He turns around and blocks the first monk's attack.

Pretty weird that this is missing in the Reconstructed Original Version.

+ 4.4 sec




37:10-37:13 / 41:38

Jump-cut in the middle of the shot of Tsiao Wei. At least, the part of the comment is audible during the following shot.

+ 2.3 sec




37:52 / 42:17-42:19

Further jump-cut on the German VHS when the camera zooms in on Tsiao Wei's robe.

1.5 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
38:00 / 42:27-43:42

After the death of Tsao Wei, the monks consult with each other. The spy upset a lot of people which makes killing Shen an urgent matter. With regard to his deceased mother, Piao volunteers but monks reject his offer for that very reason resp. they tell him to handle his personal matters first.

The subsequent scene with the 4th Prince also starts earlier. The Prince is being informed about Shen's heart condition. This is very satisfying for him because as owner of the Dharmal book, he now has leverage.

75.6 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
39:02 / 44:45-45:07

The 4th Prince keeps talking in that very shot. Out of anger about his fallen friend, he almost tears the book apart. His servant calms him down and points out the upside/the further course of action.

22.4 sec




43:04 / 49:09-49:10

Probably just another jump-cut but one way or another, a rather distinctive shot: The central part of the fight is missing: While the cam zooms out, a Manchu is being blocked.

1.4 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
46:27 / 52:32-53:17

The conversation in front of the fire is longer: Monk Ken asks about Piao's Kung Fu skills. Piao explains he had learned it from one of his father's books and when being asked who his father was, he tells Ken what happened 20 years ago.

44.5 sec




Cut Equals the TVP Version
47:53 / 54:43-56:07

The Prince's delegate speaks longer to Shen Mo Shao. At first, he apologizes for the circumstances one more time. But then, their conversation becomes more and more heated. Shen threatens with his skills the delegate mentions the rest of the book which Shen will only get if he cooperates. Eventually, Shen agrees but he points out the punishment (death) if he does not get the book. He hands over a little notebook (probably with instructions how to handle the guillotine).

84.1 sec

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