Comparison between the English 5.1 soundtrack on e.g. the 2022 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray re-release or the German Blu-ray first edition, German DVD and French Blu-ray with the original soundtrack (15th Anniversary Edition US Blu-ray) as well as the German/French soundtracks.
The 4K edition and remastered Blu-ray of RESERVOIR DOGS
Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino still is a masterpiece. Since 2022, the 4K premiere is available and qualitatively it is really a blast: The image comparison on Caps-a-holic.com speaks for itself here. The Blu-ray from the early years of the medium can't even begin to keep up with the new 4K scan. At the same time, a Blu-ray based on the same was released too, which is similarly clearly preferable to the old disc.
A curious detail was already noticed by users in the Movieside forum in the aforementioned image comparison. We'll show it again below in detail including its timecode, but the screenshots in original size make it clearer. In at least one spot, you can see in detail that there are suddenly more blood textures in the new 4K scan. But no: We took a closer look at this scene and also the entire rest of the film in comparison and come to the conclusion that there is no censorship background, digital editing or the like to be seen here. The old Blu-ray simply has a lousy compression and at this point probably only accidentally "noticeable" footage is lost in digital artifacts.
No comparison at all to many actual retouches done for the 4K releases of e.g. Terminator 2, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Poltergeist etc pp.
One line of dialog is missing in many English 5.1 audio tracks
But another interesting aspect are differences on the audio track, although even with these you can clearly deny "classic" censorship or the like immediately. There are a few places where individual comments have been lost in the English original sound or at least people are debating what was originally said there. The reason here is likely a sloppy 5.1 remix done years ago, as these missing parts (especially the first "I think he's just passed out" line that indeed went missing without a doubt) were first reported for the "Ten Years" Edition DVD released in the U.S. in 2002.
This historical "root of evil" should be clearly emphasized at this point, because e.g. in the Blu-ray.com forum thread for the film, this was repeatedly criticized over quite a few pages for the new 2022 release. For many visitors, this gave the impression that the problem only arose with the 4K scan. However, this is not the case. We have merely taken the new 4K scan as another current reason to break it down in more detail.
There are a handful of short moments that caught the eye of resourceful fans. On DVDcompare.net this was already listed in detail and commented on quite a few DVDs and Blu-rays worldwide - without guarantee for completeness and correctness. Most conspicuous in any case: A sentence by Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) in the first third of the film unfortunately remains silent in the 5.1 audio track. Curiously, the phrase still appears in the English subtitle track (on the German DVD/Blu-ray, for example). Furthermore, it can be heard translated in the German as well as French dubbing - and this can probably be extended to several other languages as well. So only the English original audio on various digital releases is affected.
What's the presumed reason for the mistake? You can't see Harvey Keitel's mouth movements in the affected part. The sentence probably belongs here quite intentionally. However, it seems as if this is a subsequently recorded ADR dialogue line, i.e. not original audio from the set. This is a common practice, especially in American film and television productions. In any case, it's conceivable that this is why the passage was unintentionally overlooked during the 2002 5.1 remix.
Affected releases with the audio track & conclusion
What's particularly annoying, in any case, is that this 5.1 revision has also been the basis for quite a few foreign DVDs and Blu-rays since 2002. We had the German DVD (2003) (see also note in our database entry), the German Blu-ray (2013) and the French Blu-ray (2010). Everywhere, this line of dialogue is missing from the English audio track. This is also annoying because in the meantime, Lions Gate released a 15th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray and DVD in 2007 in the U.S., where the line of dialogue could be heard again in a new DTS 6.1 audio track as well as an additionally included 5.1 audio track. In 2009, Lions Gate also released the edition in the UK, while other countries continued to use the botched 5.1 soundtrack.
And that brings us to the 4K Blu-ray released in 2022, as well as the Blu-ray reissue. Interestingly, there are different discs here, as unlike many other 4K editions, neither the British nor the American discs have German audio on board, for example. However, the English audio track here, just like on the 4K disc from Germany that we have, is only available as a 5.1 audio track. According to current knowledge, it can be said for all editions worldwide that the "I think he's just passed out" sentence is missing on every 2022 release.
So while for purely German/French buyers in this respect virtually nothing has changed to the status quo, of course, especially fans from the UK and the U.S. wondered sometimes loudly in the film forums about this missing part. But it is what it is: Since the error has been present in many editions worldwide for years, an exchange program unfortunately seems rather unlikely.
Summa summarum: If you are looking for the complete original audio, you currently have to either go for the American/British 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray/DVD or for very early DVD releases. Of course, the VHS and laserdisc also contained the unaltered stereo soundtrack. At this point, however, it should be made clear that any fan of the film should not be dissuaded from the 4K Blu-ray because of this comparatively trivial detail. The leap in picture quality here is, as mentioned, particularly large, even compared to all previous Blu-ray editions.