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Pray for Death

Comparison:

  • BBFC 18
  • Uncut
Release: May 13, 2015 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB
Compared are the cut UK VHS by VPD (BBFC 18) and the uncut movie role.


- 41 cuts, among them 3 with alternate footage
- Length difference: 206.2 sec (= 3:26 min) [in PAL]

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 UK Version and the Uncut Version. The latter was available as original movie role from France with the original aspect ratio. Being zoomed in and cut, the UK Version is the perfect example why the original aspect ratio is so valuable - putting the censorship aspect aside. Other than that, the UK Version contains a lot of the missing footage removed for the R-Rating. In the finale however, the UK Version is cut so heavily that it is hard to follow the action on the screen.



Time index refers to
UK VHS in PAL / Uncut Movie Roll in NTSC
Logos / Credits

No logos in the UK Version, the opening credits immediately start (in English while the French movie role contains French opening credits).

French Movie Role 6 sec longer



01:19 / 01:32-01:36

Akira reaches for his pocket and gets out a ninja star. Then he throws it in his opponent's forehead.

4 sec




01:32 / 01:50-01:54

Akira has another ninja star and kills another opponent with it.

3.6 sec




Alternate
09:24-09:29 / 10:11-10:16

Interestingly, the the tracking shot to Akira is much longer in the UK Version before the transition to the flashback. The uncut movie role contains an effect at an earlier point resp. the image is blurry before the flashback starts. The US HD master contains the same blurring effect by the way.

no difference

UK VHSUncut Movie Role




Alternate
12:37-12:41 / 13:49-13:53

Same here at the end of the flashback.

no difference

UK VHSUncut Movie Role




28:38 / 30:27-30:35

Limehouse strikes more blows upon Sam whose dead body is shown several times while his buddy is talking to him.

7.1 sec




29:09 / 31:08-31:16

Limehouse makes a dismissive comment while his buddy keeps spreading out the gas.

8.2 sec




38:07 / 40:45-40:51

Limehouse positions the knife and cuts Akira's chest. He still keeps a straight face.

5.4 sec




38:09 / 40:53-40:59

Before the shot of Tomoya, Limehouse also says he was obviously going to have some fun.

5.6 sec




38:32 / 41:22-41:25

Limehouse slowly comes closer with the Bunsen burner and points out again he was going to have lots of fun with Akira.

2.6 sec




38:36 / 41:29-41:33

The shot starts earlier. As a result, Limehouse makes a sadistic comment before he turns back to Tomoya.

3.6 sec




38:42 / 41:39-41:42

Limehouse swings the Bunsen burner in front of Tomoya's eyes.

3.2 sec




55:55 / 59:57-60:08

Limehouse drags the two bloody cop bodies across the hallway.

10 sec




57:12 / 61:27-62:02

Limehouse opens Aiko's top and lifts her leg. A rape is not actual shows but it is very well implied.

33 sec




57:29 / 62:20-62:27

The first (off-screen) stab is in the UK Version - right before the shot of the weapon smeared in blood but this is it. Actually, Limehouse then stabs her again.

6.8 sec




64:40 / 70:03-70:19

At the end of the shot, Limehouse spots resp. hears a whining waitress. He asks what was up because he was not hurting her after all. Then she shoots her.

(Please note: Contrary to the US Version, the previous shootout remains entirely untouched).

15.6 sec




70:13 / 76:10-76:24

Tomoya gets out some nunchuks and takes out the goons. Then he snatches a bike and leaves.

13.1 sec




70:43 / 76:57-76:59

Akira gets out a throwing star and hits a baddie right in the head with it.

2.2 sec




71:02 / 77:19-77:23

And again: Akira kills some attackers with ninja stars.

3.2 sec




76:52 / 83:33-83:35

Akira throws a ninja in Limehouse's direction but it ends up in the head of a mannequin.

2 sec




78:24 / 85:11-85:12

Akira pulls out his nunchucks.

0.6 sec




78:29 / 85:17-85:18

Short additional shot of Limehouse twisting the stick in Akira's leg.

1 sec




78:31 / 85:20-85:23

A first shot of the stick in the leg. The small shot of Limehouse running off had to be cut for continuity reasons.

2.9 sec




79:33 / 86:28-86:30

At the end of the shot, Akira uses his nunchucks to block Limehouse's punches.

2 sec




79:34 / 86:31-86:40

Subequently, he chokes Limehouse with the nunchucks but he manages to get his hands on the stick and pokes around in his wound.

8.7 sec




79:39 / 86:45-86:46

Small shot of Akira's wound before Limehouse is running up the stairs.

1.1 sec




79:44 / 86:50-87:03

After Limehouse fled, Akira stanches the blood-leaking wound.

11.5 sec




80:23 / 87:44-87:45

At the end of the shot, the nunchucks actually flash resp. Akira throws them forward.

1.2 sec




80:34 / 87:57-88:02

Right before the small family flashback, Limehouse actually throws another punch and goes for the wound again.

5.2 sec




Alternate / Recut
80:35-80:36 / 88:03-88:04

The end of the flashback actually shows the shot of Takeshi on the ground with a bloody noise - a brief moment earlier in the UK Version.
Instead, the UK Version (and also the US Version) now shows Limehouse's punch from the previous cut.

UK Version 1 sec longer (Length difference without the alternate shot: 0.5 sec)

UK VHSUncut Movie Role




80:37 / 88:05-88:08

Limehouse keeps pulling the bandage.

3.1 sec




80:53 / 88:24-88:26

The shot starts earlier. As a result, it begins with a close-up of the shiny ninja star Akira uses to get free.

1.5 sec




80:54 / 88:26-88:27

The shot of the ninja stuck in the console with the stop button is longer resp. only in these last frames, it is actually recognizable as such.

0.4 sec




81:00 / 88:33-88:37

Akira evades the attacks with the chainsaw.

4.2 sec




82:01 / 89:41-89:45

Banged up by the headnutt, Limehouse stumbles backwards and Akira kicks in slow motion.

4 sec




82:03 / 89:47-89:49

Akira picks up two ninja spears at the beginning of the shot.

1.8 sec




82:04 / 89:50-89:58

At the end of the shot, Akira rams the spears into Limehouse's hand.

7.1 sec




82:06 / 90:00-90:08

Akira does not only put Limehouse's feet up but he also nails the leg at the end of the shot.

7.7 sec




82:28 / 90:31-90:32

The console with the stop button for the saw earlier again. As a result, the ninja star is more recognizable.

0.9 sec




82:42 / 90:47-90:48

When the saw comes closer, one gets to see fixed hands of Limehouse for a brief moment.

1.4 sec




82:47 / 90:53-91:01

Limehouse still comes closer to the saw with his hands fixed while Akira walks away.

7.8 sec




82:54 / 91:08-91:10

Limehouse again.

1.3 sec




86:13 / 94:37-94:45

The detective throws a ninja star to Akira before they say goodbye.

7.3 sec

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