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Kill, Butterfly, Kill

original title: Hei shi fu ren

Comparison:

  • Underground Wife Cut
  • Original IFD edit
Release: Jun 04, 2023 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the censored Underground Wife cut and the original IFD edit as Kill, Butterfly, Kill (both included on Disc 1 of the US Blu-ray from Neon Eagle Video).


34 documented changes, including 5 re-cuts
* 10x additional footage in Underground Wife with a duration of 494 sec (= 8:14 min)
* 22x additional footage in Kill, Butterfly, Kill with a duration of 487 sec (= 8:07 min) [in PAL]


Two and a half different titles and three massively different versions

It gets complicated again. In 1982 Underground Wife was made, a typical Taiwan Black Movie. Since the late 70s, the domestic film industry made a name for itself for some "dirty" little films that cleverly slipped sex and violence past domestic censors. In 2020, there was a festival series on this genre that brought to light some new 35mm scans. Challenge of the Lady Ninja from 1983 certainly stood out due to its international popularity. While that title tied its bits of violence into a colorful, historical setting, Underground Wife is clearly set in the present. It's a gritty, uncompromising rape'n'revenge plot, garnished with the typical love story on the side and a few small humorous interludes. However, some scenes are surprisingly experimental to almost surreal and generally staged quite atmospherically.

Genre fans will recognize some faces, among others from earlier Shaw productions or films with Jackie Chan. Besides Chen Sing, who is known for various leading roles, you will notice Chen Hung-Lieh (Come Drink With Me), Paul Chang Chung (Police Story), Lung Fei (The One-Armed Boxer) or Chuan Yuan (Vengeance!) and the ex-gangster Sha 'Tattooer' Ma, who appeared in various Taiwan Black Movies. Most interested parties, however, do not know about their participation, because the film is known mainly as a recut of IFD, so the usual gwailos like Mike Abbott or Mark Miller are there in the foreground.

We're talking about the 1987 cut'n'paste version American Commando 6: Kill, Butterfly, Kill, which, of course, has had large chunks of the original film thrown out. As usual, a completely muddled story was added here, in which the Western faces appear and could thus be slapped big on the (as usual quite fancy) video store posters. Stubborn fans at least got the chance to see the original film on VCD and DVD in Taiwan. But even that was only half the truth, as the third version on the Blu-ray premiere in the US from Neon Eagle Video, available since May 2023, substantiates.

Namely, as the main film on Disc 1 of the highly recommended release, you'll find a new HD scan in the original 2.40:1 aspect ratio of Kill, Butterfly, Kill. So basically this one has the same title, but without the stupid appendix to the American Commando series. This version also comes with IFD intro and original English dub, so it was probably also made in the (early) 80s for worldwide export. Especially compared to the '87 recut, the film here still runs very similar to the original Underground Wife version - at least without the completely absurd, re-shot Gwailo scenes. But then again, there are many more deviations in detail, as you can see from the Underground Wife cut included as an SD bonus on the disc, and which is the subject of the following report.

In addition, Disc 2 also includes the American Commando 6 recut as its own HD scan in 2.40:1, which is of course also a delight for trash fans - compared to the old full-frame versions. A booklet with contributions from Jesús Manuel Pérez Molina, author of the Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles blog, among others, rounds out the nifty package.


Differences between Underground Wife and Kill, Butterfly, Kill

The most obvious difference shows up right in the first few minutes with the re-cut of the rape scene. What is shown in Underground Wife at the beginning of the film is only hinted at in Kill, Butterfly, Kill and is then reintroduced with flashbacks throughout the film - each time when our protagonist takes on the respective tormentor. This of course creates a different dynamic and works surprisingly well. In addition, further "nasty highlights" are scattered throughout the film, if you want to call it that.

This also leads to the second essential feature, namely several instances of censorship in Underground Wife, which are not objectionable in Kill, Butterfly, Kill. Whether this is really the original Taiwanese version or a subsequently censored version can no longer be clearly reconstructed. In any case, IFD apparently had access to the uncensored, complete material at the time. Particularly all rape scenes are partly significantly longer, including various sadistic moments. There are also several small bits of violence in the fight scenes. For the most part, Underground Wife has been censored comparatively well/inconspicuously, but nevertheless this (in addition to the miles superior picture quality) of course clearly speaks for preferring Kill, Butterfly, Kill.

But even beyond that, there are plot deviations, curiously enough in both versions. What's noticeable here is mainly that Underground Wife has more romance/drama scenes and generally more small, drawn-out "filler moments". None of this is really missed, the IFD recut is "crisper". Conversely, there are also a few exclusive scenes without censorship background in IFD's edit. Possibly these are also master-related flaws in the Taiwanese version. An additional (harmless) fight scene also stands out, which somehow doesn't fit in at all. Possibly it comes from the film I Want to be a Good Person, which was shot back-to-back with the same crew - which was recycled by IFD as Angel's Blood Mission.

Also worth mentioning are several framecuts (mainly in Kill, Butterfly, Kill at the beginning/end of shots) and master errors (mainly in Underground Wife), which further complicate a direct comparison. Underground Wife is encoded in NTSC, but runs at PAL speed. So the pure comparison of running times and also the above laboriously calculated sums of additional material only tells half the truth. Furthermore, it should be noted at this point that all role names have been changed in the English version and in the usual databases there are usually no character names given for the respective actors anyway - also a somewhat chaotic basis for the descriptions in our report.

As expected, basically only the two HD versions are recommended for actual viewing - Kill, Butterfly, Kill for a rather serious rape'n'revenge tearjerker, American Commando 6 for the usual IFD trash of the somewhat rougher kind. Still, of course, it's absolutely great that Neon Eagle Video has also archived the original film version from Taiwan - at least what was left of it after censorship and during poor storage - for eternity as well.


Running time information is arranged according to the scheme
Underground Wife in PAL speed / Kill Butterfly Kill in 23,976fps

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The HD main movie version still has a reference to IFD for starters.

11.8 sec




During the first scene, credits start earlier and generally deviate in the alternate version.

Underground Wife CutOriginal IFD edit



At this point also briefly a few more comparison images from the film. The good old zoomed full frame...

Underground Wife CutOriginal IFD edit




Alternativ
01:50-01:52 / 02:03-02:08

The Underground Wife version shows here a little longer (with a small jump cut!) the torturer with half bald head, then briefly the woman (Tang Mei-Ling aka Donna).
In the original IFD edit you see Donna instead and in another shot of the man you can clearly see that he is peeing.

Original IFD edit 3 sec longer

Underground Wife CutOriginal IFD edit



Right during this first scene, the revised soundtrack is clearly noticeable. The IFD version features a driving score, the Mandarin soundtrack of Underground Wife instead keeps it as far as possible with the actual sound. In the further course, such numerous existing audio changes are not listed in detail.


Underground Wife Cut longer
05:30-08:45 / 05:52

In Underground Wife the gang rape is still shown in detail and completely in one piece - interrupted again and again by a shot of lightning and flowers falling out. A bald guy watches first while the first guy goes to work. When he's done, he puts his pants back on, high-fives the bald guy, and he falls all over Donna, too. Another one (Chen Sing) sucks on his beer completely drunk, also slaps off and falls over Donna as well. The next act is only briefly hinted at - and when the last tormentor then lets go of Donna, the IFD original version resumes.

+ 194.8 sec (= 3:15 min)



When Donna walks around disillusioned after the rape, Underground Wife features a melancholy song whose lyrics are subtitled. This song is also played several times in the further course of the film.

Underground Wife Cut longer
10:24-11:27 / 07:34

Still the same scene with song subtitles. In Underground Wife Donna walks around much longer in close shot. This is followed by a first shot of her with bra and further walking around.

+ 63.7 sec (= 1:04 min)



Shortly after in Underground Wife several times the image slips a bit. This also happens in the rest of the film every now and then - the VHS source was obviously quite worn out.




Re-cut
13:41-13:54 / 09:52 resp. 18:30-18:43

In Underground Wife you already see a few shots of Donna in front of a shrine at the transition of the scene.
This comes in the original IFD version only a few minutes later, after Donna is seen working as a prostitute and the suitor has "asked" for her attention.

No runtime difference
Image for orientation


Underground Wife CutOriginal IFD edit




Underground Wife Cut longer
14:12-14:13 / 10:10

A short additional cut to Ken (Chen Hung-Lieh) in the background.

+ 1.6 sec




Underground Wife Cut longer
14:53-14:57 / 10:52-10:53

Ken gives another command. For this, the follow-up shot starts a bit earlier in the original IFD version.

Underground Wife 2.5 sec longer




Alternativ
26:24-26:25 / 22:51-23:46

In Underground Wife Richard takes a step to the side to conclude the scene.


In the original IFD edit Ken says something else instead and a fight scene outside follows completely abruptly.


Original IFD edit 52.1 sec longer


31:00 / 28:28-28:30

In the original IFD version, the shot starts earlier and so the knife in the hand is more clearly visible.

2.1 sec




Re-cut
32:29 resp. 07:48-08:30 / 30:00-31:29

The IFD original version now intersperses here a short flashback to a part from the rape scene cut at the beginning, when Donna asks Ken if he remembers her. Of course, the introductory part with the high-five is missing - and then differences in the middle, here highlighted in color:
Alternativ
08:27-08:30 / 30:41-31:26

In Underground Wife there is only one short shot before the final flashes, where Ken opens his pants.


In the original IFD edit Ken holds Donna to the ground much longer instead, grabs another candle and plays with the wax a bit. Primarily, he lets it drip onto his own arm, but Donna is underneath it, screaming in panic.


Original IFD edit 40.9 sec longer



33:43 / 32:45-33:00

Only at IFD you see the guy with Donna's high heels in his throat still gasping a little blood and dying. Donna looks down again angrily.

14.2 sec




34:14 / 33:31-33:57

Mimi pushes herself a little longer through the crowded bus, whereupon the guy (Chiou resp. Steve in the English dub) already comes to it and presses himself indecently against her several times. She goes on with an annoyed look.

24.6 sec




34:48 / 34:32-34:33

An unimportant moment during the scene transition towards the disco.

1 sec



Re-cut
40:34 resp. 07:21-07:43 / 40:29-31:29

Next rape flashback, when Donna takes on Chen Sing. Once again, it is withheld that in the long opening scene he actually claps at his colleague before (the bald guy). And again, a censorship cut is revealed right at the beginning in Underground Wife, because when Chen has the bubbling bottle in his hand...
07:25 / 40:34-41:14

...he actually still holds her forward over Donna and then pours beer over her body and specifically into her mouth with sadistic comments. He himself also drinks some and spits it on her. Eventually the bottle is empty.

38.2 sec





Underground Wife Cut longer
45:02-45:13 / 46:00

Some more dialogue between the girls in closer perspective.

+ 11.2 sec




49:06 / 49:59-50:15

After another cut to Richard and Donna with camera, a shot of the bald guy in the bathtub at IFD starts much earlier. The two embrace each other in much greater detail.

15.7 sec




Re-cut
51:36 resp. 06:18-06:51 / 52:49-54:32

The usual game now with the flashback to the rape by the bald guy. As usual, the high-five with the guy in front of him is missing and the IFD version is conversely more explicit/longer.
06:38 / 53:10-54:19

A first medium long shot of the bald man sitting on her. Then he spies an aquarium with eels and throws several animals at Donna.

65.5 sec

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