Comparison between the unrated version, represented by the German DVD by XT-Video, and the workprint, also contained on the XT release.
Before its release in 1989, Mark Goldblatt's adaption of the legendary comics involving the Punisher had to be cut by the most drastical scenes of violence to receive an R-rating.
In Germany and Great Britain, only a version which was cut considerably more was released on VHS.
The Austrian label XT-Video released the film on DVD, totally remastered, in very good quality and completely uncut (the unrated scenes were re-inserted afterwards). Furthermore, this release contains the complete workprint on a second DVD. The DVD was released in three versions: with two different covers as a hard case (limited to 500 numbered units) and as a small, unlimited hard case.
The second German-language DVD release is from the label Starlight and was released as a Digipak. However, one of the unrated scenes was forgotten here, so that this version is actually "cut". Besides, it does not contain the complete workprint, but only the alternative beginning, which can be played before the actual feature film.
Compared with the unrated version, however, this workprint seems rather half-baked. Most of the cuts are quite short, but in the action scenes they eliminate a lot of the "idling" parts, so that the film ultimately seems much action-packed and better. Due to the alternative beginning and alternative ending (and perhaps also the completely new hospital scene), the workprint is certainly an interesting version for fans. Unfortunately, its quality is very bad (as one can see on the pictures below), so that one can very often not distinguish anything.
Runtime of the unrated version excluding end credits: 1:24.36 min..
Runtime of the workprint: 1:36.17 min.
Runtime references of both versions are given according to the pattern Unrated / Workprint.
The workprint is in PAL /25 fps), but runs at an NTSC rate.
All together, there are 75 changes, consisting of:
44 shortenings in the unrated version
9 extensions in the unrated version / cuts in the workprint
22 timing changes
The beginning of the film is completely different in both versions:
Unrated (189.04 sec.)
Workprint (963,76 Sec – 16.04 Min)
When the aquitted criminal leaves the court house, both versions run parallel for the first time.
3.49 / 16.42
Workprint: The shot of the reporter is longer. (2.8 sec.)
Unrated: The following scene, in which the aquitted enters his limousine, is longer here. (2.24 sec.)
The statement of the reporter is identical in both versions.
5.00 / 17.51
The shot of Frank destroying the grid is minimally longer at the end.
6.28 / 19.13
Workprint: The last shot of the exploding house is minimally longer. (1.92 sec.)
Unrated: Tracking shot through the wastewater system. Frank sits in front of a fire and asks God where Justice was, when unjust lived and the just were dead. This is followed by a flashback of the scene already shown in workprint's intro. Frank's family gets in the car, Frank and Jake drive up, the car explodes. Frank tries to rescue Julie from the burning car, but it explodes once again. This flashback is interrupted several times by close-ups of Frank's face. (62,56 sec.)
The tracking shot through the wastewater channel and the front shot of Frank were inserted in the workprint at 10.18 / 21.57 (+36.04 sec.)
11.16 / 23.29
The shots of the waiter serving the men some drinks are different in both versions.
Workprint: 12.96 sec. / Unrated: 5.24 sec. / Difference: 7.72 sec.
16.46 / 28.52
The shot of the man being stabbed with a sword through the windshield is a bit longer.
17.33 / 29.39
Immediately after the severing of the hand, the man is seen minimally longer before receiving the next kick.
18.14 / 30.20
Special effects added in post-production: in the workprint, the hairline cross is missing, when the Punisher is watching a man.
No time difference
20.43 / 32.43
Cut in the workprint: a stabbed body is seen in a close-up.
25.07 / 36.54
At this point, a longer timing change follows in the unrated version.
Unrated (131.76 sec)
Workprint (127.68 sec.)
When the derelict (the Punisher's partner) wanders through the wastewater system, both versions run parallel again.
29.06 / 40.45
When the Punisher drives off on his motorbike, there are alternative shots in both versions:
Workprint: One first sees him drive away in a close-up, then in a total view.
Unrated: Here, one sees him in a total view all the way.
No time difference
30.47 / 42.21
Workprint: The last shot of the crime boss is a bit shorter, but the next shot of the car is longer. One can see the door of the car being opened. (2.08 sec.)
Unrated: The crime boss is seen longer, but the next shot only sets in when the trunk is taken out of the car. (1.08 sec.)
31.29 / 43.04
The fighters turn around.
31.35 / 43.10
The tracking shot over the fighters is slightly longer.
32.23 / 43.48
After the Yakuza boss said "Good, the money for the children", there are alternative shots again.
Unrated (4.8 sec.):
Workprint (20.08 sec.):
34.00 / 45.47
In the workprint, the scene of Jake and his partner strolling through the sewer tunnel follows here. In the unrated version it is shown at 46.52.
The end of the scene is a bit longer in the workprint, however. Moreover, the shot of the Punisher driving his motorbike was inserted here, which was seen in the unrated version already at 25.07.
35.05 / 48.24
Missing in the workprint: a shot of the stage show in the club.
36.46 / 49.57
Close-up of the Punisher's face while he is wrecking the club's interior.
36.56 / 50.08
The Punisher shoots into the Roulette table.
36.57 / 50.10
The demolished slot machines can be seen a bit longer.
36.58 / 50.12
At the end of the next shot, the Punisher continues moving arm a little.
37.03 / 50.17
The Punisher waves his gun.
37.30 / 50.35
The Punisher continues to vandalize.
37.36 / 50.43
At the end of his shooting spree, a longer white image was inserted in the unrated version.
41.10 / 54.18
The beginning of the scene in the toyland was cut slightly differently in both versions. The scene with the slding men, for example, comes a bit later in the work print. However, it is not split as in the unrated version (sliding, shooting of other men, sliding) but proceeds in one piece.
No time difference
46.03 / 58.59
The Yakuza boss runs her metal finger nails across the Punisher's face.
46.07 / 59.08
The Yakuza boss walks a bit longer.
49.28 / 1:01.05
Another man is shot dead in the pub.
49.53 / 1:01.30
When the Yakuzi boss runs her finger across the glass while the remaining men die away slowly, there have been timing changes again. However, there is little alternative footage to be seen. Mainly the order of the shots was changed.
1.84 sec. difference
52.27 / 1:04.01
More children are walking down the stairs.
54.19 / 1:05.53
The shot of the fleeing children is a little shorter in the workprint.
54.27 / 1:06.00
Cut in the workprint. The child collapses to the ground; the punisher reaches for a pipe.
54.31 / 1:06.01
Workprint: In the same shot in which he knocked down a gangster, the Punisher turns around and runs aways from more arriving gansters.
Unrated: The Punisher does not turn around, but the gangsters shoot at him. Only now he runs away. (2.05 sec.)
54.36 / 1:06.06
Cut in the workprint: After the Punisher has vanished through the door, a shot of the child, lying on the ground, is missing. Then, the shooting at the bus continues.
55.06 / 1:06.32
The truck drives off the screen longer.
55.14 / 1:06.40
During the collision of the bus with the boxes deposited by the roadside, both versions are cut differently.
Workprint: Here, the bus can be seen tracking in from a distance, followed by an interior shot of the bus. Then there is the shot in which it hits the boxes. (3 sec.)
Unrated: The first two shots are missing in the unrated version, but the last one was extended by 9 frames. (0.36 sec.)
55.16 / 1:06.45
Cut in the workprint: The bus is driving off the screen longer after ramming the boxes.
55.47 / 1:07.14
The pursuers are driving some longer.
55.48 / 1:07.16
A shot of the driving bus and the Punisher behind the wheel is missing.
55.52 / 1:07.23
The Punisher is on screen longer, before turning around.
55.56 / 1:07.28
The gangsters are seen in the car.
56.05 / 1:07.38
Another shot of the gangsters is missing.
56.08 / 1:07.43
After the crash, the vehicles continue to drive next to each other.
56.31 / 1:08.06
The shot of the gangsters in the car is a little longer in the workprint. It is followed by some timing changes.
Workprint (5.12 sec.):
1.2 sec. difference
56.43 / 1:08.19
The gangster brakes a bit longer.
56.47 / 1:08.26
Unrated: The shot in which the driving car can be seen is a litte longer. (0.6 sec.)
Workprint: The car is seen shorter, however, two shots of the Punisher at the wheel of the bus can be seen. (1.68 sec.)
1.08 sec. difference
56.54 / 1:08.33
Immediately after the Punisher has stepped on the gas, a short shot through the windshield of the bus is missing.
56.57 / 1:08.37
When the car rams the truck, the whole scene is shown in a single shot in the workprint. The unrated version shows the beginning of the scene in the same total view as the workprint, but then switches to a close-up.
57.13 / 1:08.53
The gangster aims for the bus (shot of the gangster and the Punisher), before he pulls the trigger.
57.27 / 1:09.08
The shot of the Punisher is slightly longer.
58.15 / 1:09.55
When the police point their guns at the Punisher, a close-up of his face and another shot of the police is missing, before the Punisher lifts his hands.
58.18 / 1:10.02
Unrated: The shot of the Punisher with lifted arms is a bit longer. (1.44 sec.)
Workprint: Here, a long high-angle shot of the surrounded bus was inserted instead. (4.56 sec.)
3.12 sec. difference
59.48 / 1:09.32
The shot of Jake is longer in the workprint, before he starts talking.
59.53 / 1:11.39
The ending of this shot and the beginning of the next shot of the Punisher were shortened, as well.
59.56 / 1:11.14
The ending of the shot and the beginning of the next shot of Jake were removed.
1:00.02 / 1:11.21
Once more, a shot of Jake was shortened, before he starts talking.
1:00.11 / 1:11.31
Jake is seen longer.
1:01.03 / 1:12.53
After he has left the cell, Jake peeks through the small bars.
1:01.11 / 1:13.02
Before the flashback of the playing girls, the Punisher sits on his bike in another shot.
1:01.14 / 1:13.06
Following that, the "flashback ride" was cut completely differently in both versions. In the unrated version, the shots of the Punisher were shifted, shortened etc. Moreover, different flashbacks are shown. While the workprint only shows the playing girls, the unrated version also contains a shot of them shooting at their father (the current Punisher) with water guns, a shot of him lying in bed with his (ex-)wife and one of the lethal car explosion.
1.36 sec. difference
1:01.25 / 1:13.19
The gangster boss looks at a toy dino and a poster before seeing the Punisher on TV. In the unrated version, the first shot of the TV report is a little longer at the start.
9.28 sec. difference
1:03.04 / 1:15.03
The Punisher tells Jake's partner to tell Jake that he would visit him to make his farewells.
1:03.41 / 1:15.46
After the accident during the prisoner transport, the whole scene of Jake visiting his partner in hospital is missing. After a short conversation, he leaves her room and enters his car when suddenly someone presses a gun against his head.
1:05.23 / 1:19.21
The shot of Jake with the gun pressed against his head is longer in the unrated version.
Immediately after, there is a timing change. The scene with the Punisher in the sewer system and the one with Jake freeing himself were interchanged. However, no further changes of the scenes were made.
1:10.04 / 1:23.48
The Yakuzi boss dances in another long shot.
1:10.54 / 1:24.54
The shooting of the gangsters in the hallway is different in both versions.
Workprint: Shots are fired (close-up). Then, one of the gangsters is being hit, also in a close-up. In the following shot, all the remaining gangsters are getting shot as well and fall to the ground. (5.36 sec.)
Unrated: Basically, the scene is the same, except that the said following scene (total view of the event) is interrupted by two short cuts (close-up of the muzzle flash of one of the gangsters) and thus is being extended a bit. (6.12 sec.)
1:12.04 / 1:25.46
The fighter waves his chain around for one shot; the following shot of the Punisher was removed, as well.
1:12.06 / 1:25.56
The fighter jumps and attacks the Punisher shortly. The unrated version only sets in again with the second jump (at which a part of the lance breaks off).
1:12.40 / 1:26.31
The fight between the Punisher and the second fighter was cut already after the first (blocked) attack of the fighter.
1:13.19 / 1:27.16
The high-angle shot of the speared fighter is much longer.
1:13.28 / 1:27.26
The Punisher's mate looks out of the sewer tunnel longer.
1:13.30 / 1:27.30
The Punisher's mate is seen longer, before he puts the sewer cover aside.
1:14.19 / 1:28.18
The shots of Jake and the armed gangster boss are both a bit longer.
1:15.59 / 1:29.54
The Punisher's arms can be seen minimally longer, before the fighter scarifies them with her small knives.
1:18.45 / 1:32.34
Immediately after the gangster boss sent out his son, the alternative ending starts in both versions.
Workprint: (222.88 sec.)
The gangster boss bows down to the Punisher and thanks him for rescuing his son. He says that he would like to fulfill his most fervent wish, but that could not do it, since it involved his own death. Particularly, because his son gave him a reason to live. Then the gangster boss apologizes to the Punisher and cocks his revolver. His son storms in and asks him what he was doing, since the Punisher had rescued the two of them. The gangster boss sends his son out, but the son attacks him to keep him from killing the Punisher. The latter decides to give it a go and stabs a knife in the gangster boss' back. His son starts crying and threatens the Punisher that he will find and kill him, once he was older and had learned to handle guns. The Punisher tells him how to handle a weapon, then kneels down in front of him and hands him his colt. He presses it against his own head and encourages the kid to pull the trigger.
Jake and his team arrive in the Yakuzi training room and finds several corpses.
The Punisher takes the gun away and the gangster boss's son gets on his knees and cries. The Punisher tells him to become a good man, since he would await him if he did not. The Punisher leaves, and after another shot of the kid, Jake arrives at the crime scene. He asks the child where the Punisher went. Since the child does not respond, he simply follows the blood stains on the floor. These lead him on the roof, but there is no trace of the Punisher. Jake shouts "Fuck" several times.
Unrated (350.92 sec.)
The gangster boss bows down to the Punisher and thanks him for disposing of the Yakuzi competition. He says that his new syndicate will be the most powerful worldwide within five years and that his son, whom he has rescued, will inherit all of it. And that he would now get rid of his last enemy (the Punisher). The gangster boss cocks his gun and is about to pull the trigger, when his son storms into the room and distracts him. The Punisher takes his chance and kicks the gun out of the gangster boss's hand. A quarrel flares up between them at the end of which the Punisher gets hold of the revolver and shoots the gangster boss. The latter can still manage to stand, however, reaches under his coat and drops dead only after he has seen the blood on his fingers. The Punisher drops his gun and wants to leave. The child grabs the revolver and threatens to kill the Punisher. He tells him to do it while he can, so he won't end up like his father. He kneels down in front of the child and aims the gun for his own forehead. He encourages the kid to kill him, but the latter naturally cracks under the pressure.
Jake and his team arrive in the Yakuzi training room and finds several corpses.
The Punisher gets up and tells the kid to become a good man, since he would await him if he did not. The Punisher leaves, and after another shot of the kid, Jake arrives at the crime scene. He asks the child where the Punisher went. Since the child does not respond, he simply follows the blood stains on the floor. These lead him on the roof, but there is no trace of the Punisher. Jake shouts "Fuck" several times.
Another tracking shot through the sewer system follows and the Punisher says that he was still talking to God and that culprits (still) had to be punished.
In the workprint, the music continues to play during a black screen, while the unrated version shows the closing credits.