Comparison between the Mandarin Version and the Chinese Version (both included on the "Alternate Versions" bonus disc in the British 4K UHD set from Arrow Video)
In the British 4K UHD box set "BRUCE LEE AT GOLDEN HARVEST" by Arrow Video, we've already summarized the essential details in the report for the Mandarin Cut of the first film THE BIG BOSS and in the report for FINAL GAME OF DEATH. It's practically a must-buy for die-hard fans, especially due to these two significant alternate versions.
As we mentioned in the aforementioned report about the reconstructed original material, the infamous title exists in several versions. Besides the international standard version, there's some alternate material to discover in the Japanese version and three significantly shorter Asian alternative versions are also included on Disc 2 by Arrow. We have already introduced the Cantonese version in more detail; here we focus on the Mandarin version, which was shown in theaters in Taiwan.
Don't be misled: It's by no means as exciting as the "Mandarin Cut" of Big Boss. To a large extent, this version is similar to the heavily divergent "Chinese" version. Just like in the Cantonese version, however, the ending has been replaced with the harbor scene and the fight against Ji Han-jae has been reinserted. Once again, the devil is in the details with the latter, as there are small differences here as well compared to all other versions. Even the opening credits differ and highlight the Asian crew members more prominently. It's a bit questionable whether this should have been the case for the Chinese and Cantonese versions as well. What ultimately quasi-disqualifies this version are numerous cuts in the fight between Bruce and Dan, which suspiciously resemble British censorship.
Already in the report for Final Game of Death there were so many different reconstructions of the original material that a numbered listing made sense. Here now is such an overview for the film versions as well:
1. International Original Version - 101:02 min (Arrow Video, main film on disc 1).
2. International version of Fortune Star - 100:20 min (German Blu-ray from Universum).
3. Japanese version - 99:51 min (Arrow Video, bonus on disc 1).
4. Chinese version (= Singapore theatrical release) - 89:35 min (Arrow Video, main feature on disc 2).
5. Cantonese version (= Hong Kong theatrical release) - 92:22 min (Arrow Video, bonus on disc 2).
6. Mandarin version (= Taiwan theatrical release) - 90:11 min (Arrow Video, bonus on disc 2).
Runtime indications follow the schema:
The opening credits following the identical Golden Harvest logo differ. It's noticeable how the focus here is more on the Asian crew members. Subtitles for the Chinese theme song are also displayed.
No difference in runtime
75:58 / 75:58-77:20
After Bruce takes out his nunchakus, he twirls them around a bit. Dan does the same. The fight begins, and Dan takes a few hits. The Mandarin version resumes when he comes to a pause after some more spinning.
82.2 seconds (= 1:22 min)
76:08-76:09 / 77:30-77:32
While you would see Bruce handling the nunchakus again, the Mandarin version inserts a closer shot of screaming Bruce (mirrored/recycled from the end of the previous cut).
Mandarin Version 0.5 seconds longer
76:12 / 77:35-77:55
Dan takes out his nunchakus again and twirls them around. Bruce defends against an attack. There's more dancing around, and Bruce lands another hit.
76:16 / 77:59-78:16
Dan remains on the ground longer and struggles to get up. Bruce then attacks him, wraps the nunchakus around his neck, and breaks his neck. Just before he drops the nunchakus, the Mandarin version resumes.
Mandarin Version longer
76:22-78:58 / 78:22-78:25
In the Mandarin version, Bruce is shown going up the stairs and encountering Ji there. Curiously, this is again edited differently than in all other versions.
The beginning is similar to the international version: Ji is seen a bit longer than in the JP version, which cuts this shot earlier. Ji moves to the side - and the alternative shot of Bruce is shown, where he looks rather unaffected. This is familiar from the DVDs/Blu-rays of the international version by Fortune Star.
Then it gets curious, as the Mandarin version also shows the camera movement towards the talking Ji and the cut back to Bruce. This is known from the JP version. Afterward, Ji's view from the international version is shown as well, zooming in on his hand. Thus, the Mandarin version at this point combines both the material from the international and the Japanese versions.
From this point on, the fight proceeds identically to the international and JP versions.
At the end, it gets interesting once again. First, you see (consistent with the alternative shot of Bruce at the beginning = Fortune Star version) a few additional frames where Bruce steps aside, completely obscured by the post. However, afterward, a moment is missing, as Bruce stands a bit closer to the stairs at this point. In this regard, the Mandarin version is even shorter than all other versions. Here are the consecutive shots.
Contrasting this, the Chinese version at this point starts much earlier with the shot of Bruce on his way to the stairs. The identical remainder is also shown side by side: the Chinese version (because the shot was taken completely from another source due to the exclusive material at the beginning of the shot) is slightly zoomed and has lower image quality than the Mandarin version, which uses the restored image from the international version.
Mandarin Version 152.7 seconds (= 2:33 min) longer
88:51-89:42 / 88:18-89:06
In the Mandarin version, Billy then continues up the stairs, and you see Dr. Land's body once again. Then it transitions smoothly to a scene at the harbor, where Billy bids farewell to Marshall. However, a song plays here, so no words can be understood even though Marshall visibly moves his mouth. Together with Ann, Billy boards a ship. The ship departs, with a long shot featuring a photo of the real Bruce displayed on the right side. The lyrics are also displayed in the fixed subtitles.
This matches 1:1 with the Cantonese version and is not illustrated again.
In the Chinese version, instead, the alternative ending described in the comparison between the Chinese and international versions is shown, where Billy is arrested. In the international version, this is followed by a direct transition to the end credits, styled like the opening credits.
Mandarin Version 3 seconds longer