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Chinese Zodiac

original title: Sap ji sang ciu

Comparison:

  • International Version
  • Original Version
Release: Apr 24, 2014 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB
Compared are the shortened International Version (German Blu-ray by Splendid) and the uncensored Original Version (Hongkong Blu-ray by CZ Entertainment)


137 differences including
* 9 recuts
* 6 scenes with alternate footage

Difference: 13:32 min



Background


Armour of God from 1986 and Armour of God II from 1992 certainly count as Jackie Chan's most famous and most popular movies ever. So it is anything but a huge surprise that aging Jackie chose to make another Armour of God (and subsequently another milestone of his career with Police Story 2013). Even though CZ12 is not considered an official sequel, there are obvious similarities contentwise and international license holders named the movie appropiately.

The result might have been disappointing for many fans. But then again, did anyone really expect another classic on the level of the first and second installment? Back in the days, the comedy elements were casual and fun. Now, they seem anything but. As to the action, an almost 60-year-old Jackie simply cannot do the stuff he did more than 20 years ago. But even without comparing to the earlier installments and considering the movie a stand-alone production, many viewers will probably dislike the naive but obtrusive China patriotism in some scenes. Unfortunately, CZ12 is not the only Jackie did during the last years which contains that flaw.

But reviewing the movie is not the primary objective here. On the contrary, the main reason for the following comparison in an entirely different one. Just like in the good old days, a second version had been edited for the international market. This so-called International Version is almost 14 minutes shorter than the Original Version.

The International Version


All in all, it can be said that the International Version is not be too bad and even has some advantages in comparison to the Original Version.

It is also important to point out that the high amount of differences mostly is a result of many insignificant plot streamlining cuts. These are quite often only single shots that have been shortened by a few insignificant frames. Shots that are missing completely are shown here with pictures here, but usually they are completely redundant anyway as the viewer does not miss any exclusive information. These cuts actually make the movie a bit less slow.

It is also striking that the plot cuts quite often remove parts with not unproblematical historical statements and other pro-China comments, which most viewers will probably even prefer. Especially because it does not affect the main parts of the movie, as is the case with other films that were treated this way. The same can be said about a few stupid comedy elements that were removed.

In the original, the element of language barriers is rather important as well because there is a wild mixture of English, French and Chinese. In the English overdub, this was removed completely, which is why some scenes with the “lost in translation” topic had to be cut out, too.

There are also some recuts that mostly are mostly a benefit for the movie. The slow and long introduction was split up and distributed over the story, which also makes it more interesting for the viewer. Additionally, some shots were rearranged inside certain scenes, which was neither necessary nor detrimental for the viewing experience.

The last curiosity is the best of of stunts and outtakes from old Jackie movies, which can only be found in the International Version. It certainly causes some nostalgia for many fans and makes them finish the end of the rather average movie with a more positive (or wistful) feeling.

The International Version was released on 25 March 2014, an identical disk can be expected to be published in the UK soon as well, which is why this comparison shoud be interesting for most of our English-speaking reading.


Running time designations are formatted like this:
German Blu-ray / Hongkong Blu-ray
Logos

The first differences, concerning the logos, are to be found right at the beginning.

It is no surprise that Splendid has put their two logos before all others in the international version (=IV). Curiously enough, the following two displays of logos of the same companies contain more background colors in the IV, and the second display is much longer on the Hong Kong Blu-ray. The title is the only thing left from the Emperor Pictures display in the IV.

Hong Kong Blu-ray 13.4 sec longer

International Version (German Blu-ray)Original Version (Hong Kong Blu-ray)




Partial Recut
00:46 / 00:59-05:14

The actual beginning of the movie is different. This is a bit complicated, because several parts of this are also used in the shorter IV after the first action scene, but in a different order.

First off in the original version (=OV) is an animated sepia-toned sequence, which is supposed to be an introduction to the historical background. This comes up later in the IV at 08:50-09:45, when Jackie's client mentions the Summer Palace.

An auction follows in which some treasures are on sale; the son of Lawrence is among the bidders. Only the first scene of this is later shown in the IV (see the notes in the next part highlighted by color).

The OV shows way more of the auction; an old man is being pushed around in a wheelchair. He says that he is feeling guilty for his ancestors always bringing back stuff, which was not theirs, from their raids. He claims that it is the heritage of all humanity, so it should not belong to one single person. That is why he decided to donate his treasures to a Chinese museum. Coco and her companions praise him for this.


Next up is a press conference and some rich men talking. This (at 03:35 in the OV) was almost completely reinserted into the IV, too, before Jackie is talking to his client (so BEFORE the above-mentioned sepia-toned animation sequence, but after the introducing action scene). But it also contains some slight differences. Mentioned here in the part highlighted by color because of the recut; the identical footage is not taken into account in the cut length below.


07:12 / 04:04-04:19

Some more discussing about smart strategies (buying now and selling later for a higher price) is missing in the IV.

15.6 sec




Alternative / Recut
07:31-07:49 / 04:38-04:41 respectively 01:57-02:13

In the international version, the boss (Lawrence) finishes his line on-screen and a tracking shot over the auction follows. Then, Lawrence insignificantly earlier.


The original version shows some other men in the room and a graph of the revenue with the different statues.


International version15.6 sec longer



07:51 / 04:43-04:49

Lawrence asks for names of people who can get him the one remaining statue; he declines the first suggestion.

5.9 sec




08:04 / 05:02

The adviser is shown insignificantly earlier.

0.5 sec


Additional footage without extensions in the box highlighted by color respectively the recut scene: 84.8 sec (= 1:25 min)



Alternative / Recut
01:08-01:18 / 05:36-05:50

After Bonnie has gained access under the pretense of having to use the bathroom, the two versions differ for a brief time.

The IV already shows the alarm being set off on the inside. The camera shows Jackie in the background. No pictures, because this is also shown in the original version a bit later.

The original version shows the other men again instead. The son of Lawrence is praising the idea, which will give them a fortune; the father sends him away.
After that, Bonnie is sneaking around some more and uses her sunglasses as a mirror in order to look around the corner.

Original version 4 sec longer




01:25 / 05:57-05:58

Bonnie's foot insignificantly earlier.

0.7 sec




01:44 / 06:17-06:33

There's again some more conversation between the men, after Bonnie has hidden the stolen goods under the car and before Jackie rolls over the floor. They ask themselves where Jackie might be right now, „probably on vacation“.
Then the scene with the alarm and Jackie in the background is also shown here (no pictures).

16.4 sec




International Version longer
01:46-01:47 / 06:36

Nonsense: for the international viewers might have forgotten what had just been shown one second earlier, they just show the shot of Jackie rolling through the corridor once again from above.

+ 0.4 sec



Recut
01:52-01:53 / 06:41 respectively 06:43-06:44

A short wide shot of the factory is shown at an earlier point in the IV.

No difference in running time




Partial Recut
02:12 respectively 02:53-02:56 / 07:01-07:06

Two additional shots of some soldiers running around.
At least the second one is later also shown in the IV, when the pursuit in the streets has just begun. So no pictures of that.

Original version 2 sec longer




Credits / International Version longer
06:24-06:43 / 11:15-11:23

The title display, as well as the following reference to Jackie, is different.

In the OV, the next scene already begins in the background when the credits are moving towards the camera.
The IV remains black – and some alternate footage, which leads into the subplot of the auction, follows.

International Version 10.6 sec longer

International Version (German Blu-ray)Original Version (Hong Kong Blu-ray)




Now, the rich men are shown in short giving the command to procure the last statue, until 08:16 (the small differences were already mentioned above).



09:45 / 11:56-12:02

A part of the tracking shot of Jackie walking around got lost, when the above-mentioned sepia-toned animated scene was reinserted into the IV.
The man adds, when talking about the fate of the Summer Palace: "...where numerous treasures and relics were pillaged, destroyed, and stolen."

6.7 sec




11:24 / 13:41-13:43

The rat-head mask gets reconstructed in the lab a little longer.

1.8 sec


11:32 / 13:51-13:53

The next shot of this starts slightly earlier.

1.1 sec




12:37 / 14:58-15:47

The scene inside the building starts earlier. Coco complains for a while and throws some items at her (ex-)boyfriend. Jackie comes in, is quite confused about the ongoings and gets the man to leave.

To be more exact: Coco talks French to the guy pretty timidly. She gets some help by the other woman. They talk about a piece of clothing the guy bought for her in a wrong size. She says that it is over between them and he asks her to return his keys.
When Jackie comes in, he tells Coco that Professor Guan sent him. While doing so, he catches the keys that she throws. Since he does not understand French, the guy tells him what is going on. Then he says that he wants to get his keys back so that he can give it to another girlfriend. Jackie does not like this, looks at him angrily and the man suddenly leaves.

49.8 sec




13:32 / 16:42-16:43

This shot begins slightly earlier.

0.8 sec




13:44 / 16:55-16:58

After the two guys sat down on the couch, they complain about the beating a little longer. The girl agrees: "They only stopped when I tried to call the police."
The following shot begins a few frames earlier.

2.7 sec




Alternative Scene
13:53-13:55 / 17:06-17:19

The International Version only shows a short scene of the guys on the couch. They look over to Jackie while the woman finishes her sentence about principles off-screen.


In the Original Version you instead see a different shot of the guys and the woman's remakrs are much more extensive. Jackie intervenes in the conversation earlier.

To be more exact: She talks about the principles of her organization. First, they do not cause any problems to the police. Second, they do not put their bib in other peoples' lives. Last but not least, they do not try to disturb social order. Jackie agrees with everything.


Original Version 10.9 sec longer



14:03 / 17:27-17:32

When the Chinese guy asks Jackie to do his job and report about the incident, Jackie responds something in Chinese that Western audiences will probably find outrageous.
According to the English subtitles he says: "No. As media, we can only report the facts. We cannot exaggerate and make things up."

4.9 sec




Alternative Scene
14:25-14:26 / 17:54-17:55

When Jackie secretly takes some pictures with the camera in his watch, the International Version includes an additional shot from the camer's point of view.
In the Original Version you instead see the following shot a little earlier.

No difference in time.

International Version (German Blu-ray)Original Version (Hongkong Blu-ray)




16:29 / 19:58-19:59

The bad guy looks down slightly longer.

0.5 sec


17:25 / 20:55-20:56

Jackie stands inside the room a little longer.

1.7 sec




18:11 / 21:43-21:47

Jackie looks around for a while before searching for a way up.

4 sec




18:25 / 22:01-22:02

The tracking shot of the bookshelfs starts earlier.

1.6 sec




18:47 / 22:24-22:27

Jackie puts another book at the right alphabetical spot.

3.5 sec




18:54 / 22:34-22:39

The cleaning woman first sits on the armchair a little longer before going through the room.

5.1 sec




20:04 / 23:49-23:50

There's an additional shot of Jackie getting out a bag.

1.2 sec




20:36 / 24:22-24:25

Jackie sneaks out of the room a little earlier.

2.9 sec


21:17 / 25:06-25:08

He goes out of the room a little longer while carrying the picture of roses.

1.8 sec


23:06 / 26:57-26:58

A shot of Jackie in the maze starts slightly earlier.

0.8 sec


23:43 / 27:35-27:37

The shot from above is shown slightly longer.

2.1 sec




24:00 / 27:54-28:00

A few short and pretty silly shots of Jackie sneaking away from the dogs were cut out from the International Version.

6.2 sec




27:06 / 31:06-31:09

Jackie is shown with a parachute on the street.

3.1 sec




27:12 / 31:15-31:18

Another shot of Jackie walking through the bushes.

3 sec




31:53 / 35:59-36:05

Katherine talks about her great great grandfather a little longer: "He always wanted to set sail again to find his second command but never had the funds to do so."
Then follows a shot of Jackie and her grandmother.

6.2 sec




32:12 / 36:24-36:32

The two men talk a little longer towards the beginning of the scene. One of them complains in French: "I don't give a damn! Bronze heads, scepter, diamond, they can never be made public."

7.5 sec




32:35 / 36:54-26:55

Jackie and the others enter the room a little longer.

1 sec




32:58 / 37:18-37:22

At the end of the scene David tells Coco that he has to commune with Jackie and the others: "Sorry, we need to talk in private."

3.8 sec




33:39 / 38:03-39:28

There's a longer piece of dialog before Coco rolls in the painting. Coco criticizes Katherine and makes it clear to her that all treasures that her great great grandfather brought along were stolen by the Chinese.

To be more exact:
As a background for the just mentioned war loot Coco talks about the plundering of the summer palace. Katherine replies that this is a matter of opinion, while Jackie thinks that Coco is actually right. The assassination of British and French diplomats was just a pretense in order to start a war. Coco asks if this really was a legitimate reason for two industrial nations to attack a country. Katherine counters that in the eyes of these two nations China was a superpower. Jackie agrees to this, after all, China called itself just this. Coco wonders which side he is on. He says that he is on her side and asks Katherine to continue her story.
The latter says that a storm caused some damage on the ship on the way back. Coco mentions (in Chinese) that the ship was probably just overladen with stolen goods and that they deserve what came to them.
Katherine asks her to speak English and Coco counters in French that is not able to speak that language. When Jackie says that she just expressed her regret over the incident, Coco actually does speak English and tells the others what she actually said. Katherine does not figure this appropriate, after all, they only took off to China because of their home country's order. Thankfully, he would also have been admitted on a Chinese ship. Again, Coco makes a Chinese remark about this. Jackie again translates this in a more positive manner but Katherine does not believe it.

85.1 sec




34:57 / 40:46-41:07

Katherine comments on China's history a little longer. Jackie also makes a remark.

She says that some historical events could not really be explained away with the contemporary era when those in power thought of it as an appropriate action. Jackie responds that one should not use today's standards to evaluate mistakes that were done in the past. He thinks that even today people need the power to convince others. Katherine says that she starts to understand Coco's point of view.

21.6 sec



b>Recut
66:26 bzw 66:28-66:31 / 77:33-77:39

A short shot of a brawl was pushed a bit back in the International Version. It now interrupts the shot of the anchorwoman in the middle and she can be heard from the off of the shot instead.

Original Version 3 sec longer




66:55 / 78:05-78:08

The shot of Jackie at the phone starts earlier.

3,1 sec




67:33 / 78:47-79:09

More interviews on the street. One woman is being asked whether students of her organisation were really beat up and another one talks about relics from India that were acquired.

22,7 sec




67:51 / 79:27-79:37

More protesting. The man receives a call and says goodbye to his companion.

10 sec




68:13 / 79:59

Some insignificant additional frames at the end of Ein paar unbedeutende Frames am Ende einer Aufnahme.

0,4 sec


68:36 / 80:22-80:25

One of the bad guys can be seen at the phone a bit earlier.

2,3 sec




70:18 / 82:07-82:11

Coco adds, "I grew up with my kid brother."

4,7 sec




70:48 / 82:41-82:42

Another short shot of Jackie.

0,9 sec




72:09 / 84:03-84:06

Bonnie says, "He insists on it! It's over between us," in a longshot.

2,6 sec




72:17 / 84:14-84:23

Some more dialog. Jackie gives Bonnie her sister's letters and then adds a commonplace phrase: "Those who fail look for excuses. Those who succeed look for ways."

9,3 sec




74:29 / 86:35-86:50

Jackie and Bonnie are going through the factory longer. She notices the resemblance of one of the pices to a recently stolen exhibit from a European museum. Jackie comments, "Artists here are all masters in their own right. But they won't be famous in their lifetime."

15,1 sec




75:21 / 87:42-87:49

Some more dialog again.
She asks who the man is and he answers that it has to be one of Vulture's men.

7,3 sec




76:11 / 88:39-88:40

Jackie goes up the stairs a bit earlier.

1,4 sec


76:35 / 89:04-89:06

Jackie insignificantly longer.

1,5 sec


76:39 / 89:10-89:11

Vulture a tiny bit earlier.

0,8 sec


76:53 / 89:25

Again a slightly longer shot.

0,5 sec




80:34 / 93:06-93:13

The bad guys are looking around nervously.

6,5 sec




86:50 / 99:28-99:37

Before Lawrence joins them, his men can be seen walking around a bit.

9,1 sec




88:00 / 100:47-100:50

Some more dialog between Jackie and Lawrence.
Jackie accepts the deal, Lawrence says, "Get 'em out of here."

The following shot starts a tiny bit earlier.

Original Version 2,5 sec longer




88:17 / 101:07-101:14

Lawrence talks to his son longer and tells him to grab everything that has any value and to afterwards blame Frankie.

7,6 sec




88:45 / 101:42-101:49

Lawrence laughs with his business associates, "MP announced that if the sale of the dragon head is affected by the protests, they will be forced to act."

6,4 sec




91:00 / 104:04

Jackie a tiny bid longer in mid-air.

0,3 sec


91:03 / 104:07

One of the next shots has been shortened as well.

0,4 sec




91:23 / 104:28-104:32

Jackie and the other parachutist in an additional shot.

4 sec




91:26 / 104:34-104:35

Another rather close shot of Jackie.

1,5 sec




91:53 / 105:02-105:06

First shots of Jackie and his opponents.

3,6 sec




92:04 / 105:17-105:19

Another shot of the parachute chaos, the following one starts insignificantly earlier.

1,6 sec




92:07 / 105:22-105:23

The shot before Jackie kicks his opponent is a bit longer.

0,9 sec




Recut
92:15 bzw 92:18-92:19 / 105:31-105:32

One of the bad guys grabs the bag – this can be seen in the International Version shortly afterwards.

No difference in running time



92:20 / 105:36

Another short shot in the air.

0,7 sec




92:24 / 105:40-105:42

Jackie a bit longer.

1,4 sec




94:03 / 107:21-107:37

The journalist can be seen on the ground, then a TV report about the "mysterious parachutist".
One of the girls around Coco recognizes her "Martin" wieder, Coco herself is not sure. Then another shot of Jackie.

16 sec




102:10 / 115:44-115:47

Cut during the outtakes. The singer cannot be seen in the International Version.

3,2 sec




Alternative Footage
103:52-109:24 / 117:29-122:56

Another big plus for the International Version: An exclusive best of of action scene/outtakes of Jackie's old movies. The shot with the singer can now be seen in the IV as well.


In the Original Version, however, the background stays black. There are only two pictures of the beginning and end of this because the the overlays differ a bit as well.


International Version 4,5 sec longer
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