Comparison between the Export Cut and the Hong Kong Cut (both included on the Blu-ray from 88 Films)
The Postman Fights Back (also known as The Postman Strikes Back) is a rather entertaining action film directed by Ronnie Yu in 1982, starring Leung Kar Yan (aka Bryan Leung) in the titular role. His mission is to transport four mysterious boxes from A to B, leading to several, sometimes surprisingly bloody shootouts. Chow Yun-fat, who later rose to fame, only appears in a supporting role but was often prominently featured on international releases' covers. Eddy Ko, Cherie Chung, and a few other familiar faces are also likely to delight Hong Kong cinema fans.
Since August 28, 2023, an recommendable Blu-ray has been available in the UK from 88 Films. The identical US release from 88 Films follows September 12, 2023. While the main feature is only presented with the original Cantonese audio and English subtitles, the bonus material includes an "Export Cut" with an English audio track. In this version, some streamlining has been done in the first half-hour, primarily affecting some emotional motivations of Leung's character.
The version carries the English alternative title Messenger of Death, not to be confused with a different film using this title and starring Charles Bronson. However, we are not aware of a corresponding VHS release. Unfortunately, we didn't have access to these releases for comparison, but it's noticeable that both the British and the French DVD releases, and especially the old Universe DVD from Hong Kong, all have a runtime consistent with the "Export Cut". It's possible that this has been the commonly used version until now, while the HD main version is essentially "extended."
Runtime indications are arranged according to the pattern:
00:36-01:07 / 00:36-01:23
The Golden Harvest logo differs, and only the Hong Kong Cut has another logo. A short English opening credits sequence follows, compared to the original.
Hong Kong Cut 16.3 seconds longer
Shortly after, the director's credit differs above the first scene.
13:44 / 14:00-14:18
Ma first goes to two women and asks about Auntie Wu. However, she passed away a few days ago. Ma also asks about her daughter, but the women don't know much about it.
16:23 / 16:56-17:03
Before Fu Jun (Chow Yun-fat) is seen playing, there's a shot of the guests in the room and a cut to Ma.
20:23 / 21:04-22:21
Another scene at night follows, where Ma retrieves a photo of his father on a horse, and you can briefly hear his mother's words: "Do you want our son to be an errand horse like yourself, hubby?" In the further course of the conversation, it's mentioned that the mail will replace the previous horse transport route. Ma looks thoughtful. With a camera pan to the box, you hear the promise again: "He'll pay 300 taels of gold. Come on, do your friend a favor."
Back with Ma, you see light from outside. It's now dawn, and apparently, he has now (after this small flashback) decided to take the job.
77.7 seconds (= 1:18 min)
At 26:23 / 28:21, the Hong Kong Cut still has an overlay on the image.
The ending credits again in English versus Chinese. The music continues for a moment on a black screen in the export version.
Export Cut 8 seconds longer
Slipcase and reverse cover of the UK Blu-ray: