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Road to Revenge

original title: Champagne & Bullets

Comparison:

  • Road to Revenge Version
  • Original Version
Release: Aug 15, 2021 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Champagne & Bullets

During an undercover operation against a gang of drug dealers, the two policemen Rick and Huck are betrayed by their superior Normad. Since the operation fails, Normad makes sure that Rick and Huck are suspended from the police service. Years pass. Rick meanwhile works as a limousine driver and Huck increasingly loses control over his life. In a bar, Rick meets his ex-girlfriend Cindy, who falls in love with him again just as Rick is singing a song on stage. But there is a dark chapter in Cindy's past. After her breakup with Rick, she sought refuge with a group of devil worshippers led by Normad. Cindy has turned away from evil, but the satanists are trying to kidnap her. Now it's up to Rick to protect Cindy and get even with Normad.

Road to Revenge is the sole directorial effort of John De Hart, who also wrote the screenplay, produced the film, starred in it and contributed much of the soundtrack. Far from an Orson Wells genius, Road to Revenge fails in pretty much every way, but ranks effortlessly alongside action duds like Samurai Cop or Savage Harbour. At times, one feels reminded of Tommy Wiseau's The Room, which has a similar vibe; the plot is curiously lousy, occasionally erratic, devoid of meaning. The acting performances are sub-par with countless unintentionally funny scenes. My highlight is the scene in which Cindy wants to pick up her things from her strict religious parents together with Rick, but the whole thing quickly turns into a family crisis with a discussion about drug abuse and devil worshipping. The German version tries hard to play the charming guy the script calls for, but fails to do so in pretty much every scene. His country performance of the shimmy slide song garnered attention from trash fans.

Curious are some actors who in themselves know what they should be doing. Rick's partner is played by Wings Hauser, who gives the dorky ex-cop. The antagonist is William Smith, who has a long film career to look back on. Ex-Playmate Pamela Jean Bryant plays the love interest Cindy including debauched sex scenes with De Hart. In a completely mundane supporting role is Lisa Boyle, who plays Rick's ex-wife and has also become a member of the devil worshippers. I can only strongly urge any B-movie / trash fan to check out Road to Revenge. It's an absolutely delightful film from start to finish, and it's hard to put into words what it's like to watch it.

Three versions on the US BD

The film was shot in 1993 as Champagne & Bullets. Everyone should try to decipher how much sense this title makes, at least Rick always drinks champagne before he jumps into bed with Cindy and every now and then they shoot. When the film did not find a distributor, it was recut by De Hart and was released on video as Road to Revenge. The version is heavily cut in plot and in a few violent scenes and got a new soundtrack. In addition, all sex scenes were removed, including any flirtation between Rick and Cindy, the rape in the bar and the scene in which Alex is punished by Normad. To make the film snappier, many shots were shortened by a few seconds. The Road to Revenge inserts a scene transition at some points where the scene is changed, usually with a building to make the change clear.

In 2006, another version of De Hart followed for the video market under the title Geteven. This represents the best known version and is also De Hart's preferred cut. Much of the adaptations of the Road to Revenge version are also present here, though the sex and violence scenes have been repackaged into the film. However, the punishment of Alex and the end of the rape in the bar are also missing here. The sex scene in the pool between Rick and Cindy was cut down to a reasonable level for the Geteven. In the original version, this has a considerable length of a solid five minutes, which raises the question of whether De Hart had any aspirations to move into the soft sex genre. The Geteven contains two scenes shot much later in which Rick trains his martial arts and then feeds his poodle. Right at the beginning, the Geteven version shows some shots of Hollywood Boulevard while the titles are faded in, furthermore, compared to the Road to Revenge version, the buildings were exchanged at some scene transitions.

As a conclusion, we can say that you should definitely go for the original version, which brings out the full madness of the film. The Geteven version is better edited from a technical point of view, but we are deprived of the absurdly long pool sex scenes and the rape and punishment of Alex is missing. The Road to Revenge version focuses fully on the action elements of the film, with a few additional spikes of violence removed. This might be good for a cozy family night, but it's significantly less fun than the other two versions.

The US Blu-ray of Vinegar Syndrome features all three versions of the film. The original version has been painstakingly restored and looks excellent, while the Road to Revenge and Geteven versions are only in VHS quality. This is due to the fact that both of these versions were edited on video and therefore there is simply no better footage available. The bonus material includes an audio commentary and an audio interview with De Hart. A highly recommended release.

Picture comparison:

Road to Revenge:

Champagne and Bullets:

Runtimes:

Road to Revenge: 74:57 min.
Champagne and Bullets: 98:59 min.

Comparison between the Road to Revenge version and the Champagne and Bullets original version.

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[00:00:00][00:00:00]

The Road to Revenge version starts with title inserts however without mentioning the movie title.



In the original version, the titles scroll from bottom to top at the beginning.



RTR: 1:27 min.
CAB: 42 sec.


[00:03:00][00:02:15]

The original version shows longer as the gangster is hit.



CAB: 1 sec.


[00:03:01][00:02:18]

Rick can be seen for a longer time. He takes cover behind the tree.



CAB: 1 sec.


[00:03:07][00:02:24]

The Road to Revenge version once again shows Huck firing at the gangsters before the gangster is seen in the doorway.



RTR: 1 sec.


[00:03:11][00:02:28]

After Huck is hit, Rick shoots at the gangsters in the Road to Revenge version.



The original version shows an alternate shot of this in which he looks a bit more awkward.



RTR: 2 sec.
CAB: 2 sec.


[00:03:14][00:02:31]

Again, an alternate shot of Rick firing at the gangsters.

RTR:



Original version:



RTR: 2 sec.
CAB: 1 sec.


[00:03:24][00:02:41]

Huck calls out to Nomad, saying that he's been hit hard. In the next shot, Nomad is seen earlier.



CAB: 7 secs.


[00:03:26][00:02:50]

The Road to Revenge version now shows Huck's scene described earlier here.



The original version continues to show Nomad shouting "goddamit."



RTR: 5 sec.
CAB: 3 sec.


[00:04:03][00:03:25]

In the Road to Revenge version, Nomad gets kicked in the stomach by Rick.



The original version shows a different shot of this, then Nomad earlier.



RTR: 1 sec.
CAB: 4 sec.


[00:04:13][00:03:38]

After Nomad said that Huck made a mistake, the Road to Revenge version shows Huck, then fades to the courthouse.



The original version fades over to the judge right away.



RTR: 7 sec.
CAB: 4 secs.


[00:04:26][00:03:48]

The Road to Revenge version cuts to Rick and Huck and then Nomad while the judge reads his charge.



The original version shows an alternate shot of Rick and Huck.



RTR: 4 sec.
CAB: 5 sec.


[00:04:54][00:04:16]

In the original version, Nomad reports to the judge that he has been pursuing Huck and Rick on his own to prove them guilty of a drug crime. He reports that he tracked them to a donut store. There, the two are said to have met with a known drug dealer. In the next shot, the judge is seen earlier.



CAB: 1:42 min.


[00:05:17][00:06:21]

When Nomad says the "leafy substance", you see him longer in the original version. The Road to Revenge version just put his partial sentence in the next scene.



CAB: 1 sec.


[00:05:35][00:06:41]

The Road to Revenge version cuts briefly to the judge as he tells Huck to sit down.



The original version continues to show Huck. The judge goes on to say that Huck will have to leave the hearing if he doesn't sit down.



RTR: 1 sec.
CAB: 3 sec.


[00:06:18][00:07:26]

In the original version, Huck is seen earlier before he stands up.



CAB: 1 sec.


[00:06:43][00:07:52]

The scene at the shooting range starts earlier in the original version. Rick and Huck go to the target to inspect Rick's hit. Huck goes back to the wagon and gets a shotgun.



CAB: 20 secs.


[00:08:06][00:09:35]

Rick says to the teens that he prefers to choose his own clothes. A cut to the teens, then to Rick.



CAB: 10 secs.


[00:08:47][00:10:26]

The teens run longer into the bushes for their pee pee break. The next shot starts earlier.



CAB: 5 secs.


[00:08:55][00:10:40]

Rick is seen in the car for a longer time before he drives off.



CAB: 1 sec.


[00:09:01][00:10:48]

The Road to Revenge version fades to the exterior shot of Huck's house.



The original version shows the teens longer, then Huck earlier during ironing.



RTR: 6 sec.
CAB: 8 sec.

[00:09:43][00:11:32]

The Road to Revenge version fades from Rick and Huck to the bar.



In the original version, Cindy and her mother are seen earlier. She is happy to be back home. Cindy says she's staying with Cherry for now.



RTR: 6 secs.
CAB: 13 sec.


[00:10:21][00:12:18]

Cindy and Rick are seen earlier as Cindy greets Rick.



CAB: 1 sec.


[00:11:07][00:13:05]

The Road to Revenge version cuts to the band before Huck brings the beer.



RTR: 4 secs.


[00:15:02][00:16:57]

The two women in the audience are seen earlier applauding.



CAB: 3 secs.


[00:15:25][00:17:23]

The original version shows the stripper on stage longer. Laura is horrified by this, but her friend says she's seen worse in their apartment.



CAB: 38 sec
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