Comparison between the US Theatrical Version (included on the UK and US Blu-ray/4K UHD) and the Extended Cut (Australian Blu-ray with MA15+ and German version with FSK 16).
Difference: 1034.4 sec (= 17:14 min) minus logos and a few more mini-differences under 0.5 sec
THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD released internationally in a longer version
The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard continues the surprisingly successful 2017 comedy actioner The Hitman's Bodyguard starring Ryan Reynolds. Much like his huge hit Deadpool, the focus is on crude humor with comic book violence. Many critics weren't too thrilled with the second Bodyguard outing. However, fans of Reynolds' familiar brand should not be put off by this, as the action here is all the more uninhibited. The original title's defining Salma Hayek, in particular, really turns up the heat on her crazy character, which makes for an entertaining moment or two.
Surprisingly, the version situation of the movie was not advertised in a big way until now, but it could be guessed from the blatantly different runtimes. In America, Great Britain or Canada, for example, the film has been available in home theaters since August/September 2021, but runs "only" 100 minutes there. In Germany, the information in the German ratings board's (FSK) database suggested in advance what could also be confirmed definitively with the theatrical release on August 26, 2021: With 116 minutes, the film runs in a significantly longer version in German cinemas, as well as in other countries.
Apparently, this is a more or less similar case as with Rambo: Last Blood, which was also distributed in the US by Lionsgate. The American version was tightened up by 12 minutes. Affected was material which allegedly didn't go down well with viewers at test screenings (see comparison). As the following in-depth details on the differences suggest, it can at least be assumed that The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard was subjected to a similar process. By that point, however, the film had apparently already been sold to several countries in its original, longer form and was dubbed into German accordingly.
In Germany, it will take until November 2021 for a home theater release, in all likelihood identically uncut as in theaters. Abroad, the longer version has already been seen in some Asian countries and in Australia. Down Under might also be the most obvious option for impatient import fans, even though the 4K UHD is not available there and the Blu-ray comes with Code B as usual. So, great for European buyers, but tricky for Americans without codefree playback options, for example. The Blu-ray is available there since August 25, 2021. Digitally as VOD, the extended came out in Australia on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and Co. as usual a bit earlier.
The Cuts of the US Version of THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD
First of all, it has to be stated quite clearly that with the surprisingly large amount of over 180 differences, there are above all plenty of tightening cuts to complain about. Those who already know the film in the longer version may intuitively find this a bit absurd at first: Even here, you are literally rushing from one action scene to the next and are offered stupid remarks or exaggerated gags every second. But what seemed somehow redundant in the flurry of cuts has now been trimmed down a bit. A few more emotional and silly scenes in between drag on a bit, but in the US version, they all run just as rampant.
In any case, it can be noted that most of these cuts occur in the first half of the film, probably because they wanted to create an even snappier introduction to the action. In addition, it was probably often a matter of omitting marginal information (e.g. the exact name of the virus or details about riots on the streets) to eliminate or at least simplify any basically irrelevant aspects. Secondary characters such as Crowley and O'Neill also appear much paler, since their minor conflicts are hardly comprehensible.
Viewers of the US version are also likely to be particularly critical of the fact that three editing patterns with a censorship aftertaste can be identified:
1) Dialogue cuts and audio track adjustments: Even in the US version, there is still extensive swearing, but while the evil F-word can be heard an entire 194x in the longer extended, this "only" occurs 152x in the shorter version. Especially in the middle of the film, several sentences have been shortened or the sound has simply been muted. By the way, director Patrick Hughes said in a Collider interview: "There's a lot of swearing we had to cut cause it was just how much is too much." One can again speculate here that the test audience simply found there to be "too much profanity" in this section in particular. By having Samuel L. Jackson, for example, say a little less of his favorite mother word, they obviously paid tribute to that.
2) There are also additional peaks of violence in several places. A close-up of a dead man shot in the head, for example, or the brief scene where Salma shoots a group of guys dead only because of an ass grab. Ryan Reynolds can be seen several times with his face covered in blood, or in an additional episode is he allowed to kill a few people during a calm message for his answering machine. All of this doesn't change anything significant about the film's level of violence, but without question you'll find some additional action spectacle value in the extended version.
3) Minor tastelessness and especially politically incorrect gags have also been tightened up a bit. Once again, this is hardly something that would have breached the boundaries of the R-rating per se and could possibly rather be attributed to negative feedback from the test audience. In any case, various scenes with racist overtones are worth mentioning here. For Japanese Zento, a comment about sex workers in Thailand suggests that the distinction between Asian nations is often not taken very seriously in Western countries. Scottish translator Ailso's strong accent is also crudely mocked several times.
All in all, the approach behind the US version is understandable and has added value in some scenes. All in all, however, the film leaves a bad taste in the mouth because of censorship-smelling interventions and one or the other gag, which was actually quite nice and fell victim to the scissors. Thus, fans are clearly advised to buy the extended version.
Additional Lionsgate logo at the beginning of the US BD.
+ 20 sec
00:33 / 00:13-00:35
After the Millennium logo appearing in both versions, first credits on black background and shots of the cars driving around are missing.
There is also some earlier, more detailed off-camera commentary: "(The Triple-A rated Bodyguard of the Year Awards.) Now, these awards are given out to members of the executive protection industry, those that carry the Triple-A rating. It is the badge of honour. (Who you most excited to see tonight, Mike?) "
Along with this, all the following credits are also placed differently.
00:39-00:51 / 00:41-00:56
Parts of the opening credits sequence are assembled quite differently.
Again, this is accompanied by more detailed off-camera commentary, "(...white-hot favorite here, Steve. And this bodyguard) has had a tremendous year. His track record is untouchable. He (has had the best client list, the best evasive car manoeuvres...)"
Extended 2,7 sec longer
Audio track change
01:03 / 01:08
When Michael exits, you can only hear the following in the extended version: "That's how safe this guy is."
In the US Theatrical Version, the film title also comes here somewhat belatedly. Probably in favor of the associated sound effect, this sentence was deleted from the audio track.
01:10 / 01:15-01:23
Michael basks in the spotlight a little longer and the show begins.
Commentary: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 63rd annual Executive Protection Awards. So without further ado..."
01:30 / 01:43-01:47
As Michael walks a little longer to the stage, more people congratulate him.
01:37 / 01:55-01:56
Michael from behind insignificantly earlier.
01:41 / 02:00-02:03
Also from the front, so he stammers another "I just" here.
01:45 / 02:07-02:13
Darius claps at greater length and Michael continues to stammer.
US Theatrical Version longer
01:52-01:54 / 02:20
Before Michael falls off the stage, the US Theatrical Version quickly cuts to Darius several times as he's laughing.
+ 2,1 sec
02:00 / 02:26-02:27
Michael stands up in a short additional shot.
02:01 / 02:28-02:37
Much more delusion: On the way to the underground parking garage, Michael encounters the laughing Darius still in chef and waiter costumes.
02:24 / 03:00-03:02
Before switching to the psychiatrist, only the extended offers another shot of Michael covered in blood.
02:57 / 03:35-03:43
Michael continues to elaborate on his backstory with Darius and you see corresponding interludes, "(around the world.) Which is why, when I protected him on a dangerous trip across Europe so he could give evidence at a war crimes trial. (Even took a bullet for him)"
Alternative / US Theatrical Version longer
03:13-03:15 / 03:59-04:08
In the extended, the psychiatrist says in more detail, "(we sometimes have to deal with the past.) Now, is there anything you want to talk about from your childhood, perhaps? And my childhood would be relevant how? Well, (quite often validation issues...)"
The USs Theatrical Version uses a different shot of Michael from above for the transition.
Extended 6,9 sec longer
03:27 / 04:20-04:44
The psychiatrist says, "What are you thinking about right now, Michael?"
Michael: "I'm thinking about the fact that you're seated six feet away from an exposed window with multiple sniper nest positions on the building opposite, most likely on the eighth floor. The additional height gives the marksman an advantage. I'm thinking about the closest available weapon to me right now - the letter opener / stabbing instrument on the desk to my right. What are you thinking about?"
At this, the psychiatrist looks skeptically around at the relevant objects.
Her dry answer, that he should forget his bodyguard job now, is then also included in the US Theatrical Version - but of course loses its comedic effect.
05:23 / 06:40-06:41
Trivial mini-shortening as Michael is pushed out the door.
05:39 / 06:57-07:06
More TV reports on unrest; "And today outside the EU headquarters, tensions run high. With the expected announcement of yet further crippling sanctions, Greece's future hangs in the balance."
Interestingly, the U.S. Theatrical Version has so to transition right before this cut, a little scrap of off-camera commentary more: "(causing mass demonstrations, civil unrest) and nationwide strikes."
06:13 / 07:40-07:45
More on the Athens protests: "(causing widespread damage.) Walter Fiscer, the head of the EU, has been reported missing amid..."
Extended 4.8 sec longer
06:46 / 08:18-08:39
More discussion between Walter and Aristotle. There is some philosophizing about democracy.
Aristotle: "Greece gave you democracy. I was an orphan, abandoned. Greece took me in, gave me everything."
Walter: "There is nothing I can do. I swear on my family. Please!"
Aristotle: "Contact Carlo and initiate the plan."
Walter: "What plan?"
07:31 / 09:23-09:27
Michael slips into his slippers and reaches for his cell phone.
08:22 / 10:18-10:19
Short additional shot at the beginning of the shooting.
08:24 / 10:21-10:23
Two more quick shots.
08:54 / 10:53-10:54
In more detail, Michael says: "(Finally Darius isn't haunting my dreams), alright? I'm not doing this."
And Sonia whips out a slap in the face.
Meaningless mini-shortening as Sonia says shortly after that Darius demanded Michael..
09:40 / 11:41-11:48
The chase at the beginning a little longer. The baddies get in their cars while Sonia mimics Michael a bit.
Sonia: "Are you kidding me? I'm not doing guns right now."
Michael: "I don't sound like that."
Audio track change
09:43 / 11:51
Sonia's "You useless fuck!" was deleted from the audio track in the US Theatrical Version.
09:48 / 11:56-11:58
Three more mini shots of the car chase.
09:52 / 12:02-12:18
A slightly longer part of the car chase, with Sonia always shooting from the back of the motorcycle.
Sonia: "Pedal to the metal and stay away from my boobs!"
Michael: "Jesus Christ!"
09:55 / 12:21-12:22
Two more shots of the car chase.
Alternative / Umschnitt
09:57-09:59 / 12:24-12:26
The US Theatrical Version reinserts here from the previous longer cut the shot from above where Michael turns into the side alley.
In the extended, instead, a chaser in close-up as well as another shot of a car in the side alley.
US Theatrical Version 0,7 sec longer
10:07 / 12:34-12:35
The buggy of the chasers arrives.
10:29 / 12:57-13:00
The first shot of diving is a little longer.
10:31 / 13:02-13:04
A first shot with Sonia with Michael coming up for air at the front of the frame.
10:38 / 13:11-13:16
Sonia says a little longer: "(We were gonna go on our honeymoon) finally, after all these years! We've NEVER had a honeymoon!"
11:20 / 13:58-13:59
When asked by Michael about the term "family" earlier, Sonia says, "You dumb fuck! (We're trying to have a baby.)"
12:01 / 14:40-14:44
After Sonia's crude sex tales, she says "Goddamn it!" again before the nuns make a cross.
12:30 / 15:13-15:14
The programmer asks at the end of the shot, "Your mysterious boss?"
12:32 / 15:16-15:17
The follow up shot also trivially shortened.
12:33 / 15:18-15:21
Sonia: "Not your concern."
12:40 / 15:28-15:30
Some tightening before the start of the "demonstration".
12:51 / 15:42-15:43
After "the only thing harder", there is a short pause.
13:08 / 16:00-16:02
The programmer says in more detail, "(a matter of uploading my) custom-built Phantom H7 (virus)."
Such an intervention occurs again later. Apparently they didn't want to confuse the viewer with a more precise designation.
13:15 / 16:09-16:14
Again, a bit more explanation: "(weaponising everything connected to the grid), crippling every computer, GPS and wi-fi system in the region. Target locked. (Bye-bye.)"
13:21 / 16:20-16:22
Another illustration of the circuit.
13:28 / 16:29-16:31
More traffic chaos in short shots.
13:31 / 16:34-16:37
More shots fire and injured people.
13:55 / 17:01-17:02
Sonia attacks in half-take and punches the guy in the face at the beginning of the follow up shot.
13:59 / 17:06-17:11
The view from above is actually followed by a few more shots of our protagonists and of a dead guy with bloody eye sockets.
14:09-14:10 / 17:21-17:35
In the US Theatrical Version, one shot of the reporters is insignificantly longer (not pictured).
The Extended Version instead shows more shots of the action, plus more detailed off-camera commentary: "(a high-velocity surge wiped out) a five-mile radius of (its power grid. The climbing death toll has now reached 75.) Early reports suggest that a freak lightning strike on a data junction was to blame."
O'Neill gets out of a helicopter and walks through the barrier tape, making a phone call as he does so, "What? No, I need round-the-clock surveillance on my informant right fucking now."
Extended 13 sec longer
14:44 / 18:09-18:27
More banter between O'Neill and Superintendent Crowley.
O'Neill: "Hey, Ivan Drago. Where'd you find this body?"
The guy replies in other language and O'Neill asks, "What'd you say? What'd he say?"
Translator Ailso answers with an accent, "Said he found it next to the data tower."
O'Neill: "What the fuck did you just say?"
Crowley repeats annoyed, "He found him next to the data tower."
O'Neill: "Oh, next to the data tower."
15:23 / 19:06-19:07
A shot of Crowley starts a little earlier.
15:32 / 19:16-19:20
After Crowley offers Ailso for assistance, O'Neill adds, "I was hoping one that spoke English."
Crowley admonishes her translator, "Keep an eye on him."
15:42-15:44 / 19:29-19:32
Ailso says onscreen in the Extended Version: "It's a traditional Scottish name."
In the US Theatrical Version, the follow up shot a bit earlier - not illustrated.
Extended 1,1 sec longer.