Comparison between the French version
and the uncut international Version
(both contained on the French DVD by Metropolitan).
- 7 cuts
- Difference: 491.7 sec. (= 8:12 min.)
Anyone who's interested in the Hong Kong cinema of the 80's probably should know Millionaires' Express
. More or less like a certain Mr. Stallone has just done it with US action stars, Sammo Hung
in 1986 gathered almost all the known faces of the Hong Kong cinema of that time (including "guest workers" like Richard Norton, Cynthia Rothrock, Hwang Jang Lee or Yukari Ôshima) for this wild action comedy film. The story about a train full of millionaires, for which several groups with bad intentions are fighting, offers the viewer a lot of funny absurdities in the first two thirds and at the end an exemplary choreographed fight. Apart from the encounter of Sammo and Cynthia, Yuen Biao should also be mentioned because he delivers some of his best artistic scenes.
Overview of the Versions
An overview of the different versions follows.
1. Hong Kong
Runtime: 96:34 min. (NTSC)
The original movie version with the title Millionaire's Express, which is at several points slightly longer and exclusively contains a few further complete scenes. But it also lacks several longer scenes which are contained in the international version. So in total the movie is a little bit shorter in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong releases on laserdisc, VHS and the old DVD by Universe (the latter illustrated on the left) contain this version.
Generally, ONE alternative version was produced for the non-Asian market, see "a)". In Europe they obviously thought they could come up with something better, so the movie received some further cuts.
At this point already separately pointed out: exactly this international version is contained on the new Hong Kong DVD by JoySales, so it can't be said generally that one gets the HK version when purchasing an Asian release.
a) The Uncut International Version
Runtime: ca. 97 min. (PAL) / ca. 101 min. (NTSC)
As already mentioned above, some parts from the original Hong Kong version are missing in this version. But on the other hand there is quite some additional material, resulting in a longer runtime for this version.
Contained on the British DVD by HKL (cover on the left) as Millionaire's Express, on the US DVD by Dragon Dynasty as Shanghai Express, on the new DVD from Hong Kong by Fortune Star as The Millionaire's Express, on the German DVD by Eyecatcher as Shanghai Police and on the French DVD by Metropolitan as Shanghaï Express.
b) The German Version
Runtime: ca. 82 min. (PAL)
Based on the uncut international version, roughly about 15 minutes of plot scenes were removed to speed the movie up a little bit. The action scenes stayed in the movie.
Contained on the tapes by Bild and Starlight (cover on the left) and also as bonus material on the DVD by Eyecatcher, as Shanghai Police - Die wüsteste Truppe der Welt.
c) The French/Spanish Version
Runtime: ca. 89 min. (PAL)
Based on the uncut international version, about 8.5 minutes of plot scenes were removed (independent from the changes of the German version).
Contained in France, among others, on the DVD by Metropolitan (cover on the left) as Shanghaï Express and in Spain, among others, on the DVD by Universal as El tren de los millonarios.
The French Version
Though there are, at least in two parts, overlaps with the German version, the French version is cut differently. The conversation of Sammo Hung and one of the prostitutes at the beginning was also removed here, although this scene shows his character and his intentions quite well (which is even more visible in the HK version, as mentioned in the other cut report). Consequently, they also cut out some later scenes in which the romantic part, his relationship to Olivia Cheng's character, is thematized and so this plot line was a little bit reduced. Eric Tsang, as chief of the security, is also not that present - the scene with the horse was completely cut out, while in the German version only the discussion at the end was missing (the following magnet part was also missing there, but the French version contains this part). A few further comedy moments were also removed.
The here used French DVD contains both versions, but the uncut international version is only available via the language selection in the menu. Consequently, it has the original sound track with French subtitles and it can't be changed! The disc structure is a little bit strange and it doesn't work as smoothly as the other seamless branching releases - shortly before the first alteration, the movie stops for a moment because at the end of the chapter it automatically jumps to another part of the disc which contains the movie with the few, in the first third occurring, individual cuts. Then there's another short stop and the, in both versions identical, next part of the movie starts etc.
The runtime indications are as follows:
French Version in PAL / Uncut International Version in PAL
12:24 / 12:24-14:18
After the meeting of Yun Shiyu's (James Tien) group of gangsters, Fong-Tin Ching (Sammo Hung) and Siu-Hon (Olivia Cheng) are shown in the garden. He tells of a village 350 miles westwards where life would be better. (These first seconds are also missing in the HK version.) He wants the girls to follow him there. Siu-Hon kisses him and they fall down on the floor, but Fong-Tin stays rather cold towards her. A watching man is already justification enough for him to end this whole thing. Siu-Hon then says that she doesn't want to be in his debt forever and that he saved her and her colleagues after all. Fong-Tin jokes a little bit and then makes clear to her that they don't owe him anything and that he's only interested in their well-being.
31:16 / 33:10-34:25
After Tsao Cheuk Kin (Yuen Biao) spoke to his men, there's missing a longer scene with Fong-Tin again. He enters a room and thinks about his past. He's shown as a child playing with fire, his mother warns him. Then, Siu-Hon enters and talks to him briefly and shows her affection for him while Fong-Tin keeps her at arm's length.
34:41 / 37:50-39:46
Chi (Rosamund Kwan) heeds the advice of Fong-Tin and tries to distract Tsao. So she follows Tsao and extensively tells him something about a romantic dream. He listens, but then cuts her off coldly and leaves. Chi runs after him whereupon he kisses her wildly and says that he'll watch her closer from now on. She wants another kiss, which he didn't expect - so because she closes her eyes, he quickly sends to of his men to fulfill her wish.
(This scene is also missing in the HK version.)
38:00 / 43:05-44:17
The scene with the "horse" and its "rider" Jook Bo (Eric Tsang) is completely missing in the French version.
The security chief sits on the shoulders of one of his men and spurs him like a horse, apparently as a kind of test, just in case. They run after another man with a carriage and try to jump on it but they just fall down. The security chief moans but the other one lists all the terrible things that would have happened with a real horse. At last, he spits on Jook's arm and after some grimacing he runs after him in a sped up shot.
65:06 / 71:23-72:35
After Fong-Tin was thrown into jail, the also imprisoned gang of Jook Bo is shown.
Loi Fook passes the bars and Jook convinces him to hand over the gun because he, as former security chief who was always only equipped with a knife, is interested in it. Of course, he immediately tries to get into the cell, but he can't get it through the bars. Loi takes the gun again and Jook puts the blame on one of his fellow prisoners (Yuen Wah). In the end, they both sit there crying for their mothers.
Loi goes out to Tsao and says that there should be more guards for all those cunning thieves. But the staff is small and Loi finally mentions that he wants to search for some more evidences against Fong-Tin.
70:54 / 78:24-78:41
Fong-Tin's pensive moment was shortened a little bit, the French version continues in the middle of a shot and shortly before the end.
At the beginning he can be heard coming to the conclusion that he can't keep Siu-Hon waiting forever. Moreover, he says that he can't wish for more than a dedicated wife.
75:51 / 83:38-84:03
Fong-Tin's solution for the water problem is missing.
He gets up and urinates on Loi Fook's gun. He looks astonished and shortly after, the gun is working again, if only briefly. So he asks for water again and with the answer to that, the French version sets in again.