Compared are the US DVD by Videoasia and the Japanese VHS by Daiei Video
- 6 cuts
- Difference: 33 sec
A few additional jump-cuts (especially on the US DVD) with a length of less than 1 second will not be mentioned in the comparison.
With its very trashy/confusing production and uncontrollable slapstick comedy, Kung Fu Zombie from 1982 is particularly interesting for hard-boiled fans of Hong Kong flicks. However, those will get to see some excellently choreographed fight scenes with Billy Chong. Versionwise, it is very chaotic and we have tried to break it down with the recently released German DVD.
1. Japanese VHS, 100 Minutes NTSC
Definately the longest and probably the uncut original version of the movie. Annoyingly, a zoomed fullscreen master (apparently due to hardcoded subtitles) has been zoomed in even more. As a result, more details on the bottom, left and right are missing. Also, the VHS only contains original audio with Japanese subtitles.
2. US DVD by Videoasia (identical to the Taiwanese VHS), 94 Minutes PAL
The most common version in English-speaking areas with a few (probably due to a bad master) missing scenes. The DVD contains original audio with hardcoded English subtitles. Unfortunately, those are often missing due to a zoomed fullscreen. At least, the US DVD contains more details than the Japanese VHS.
3. Export Version, 78 Minutes PAL
The most common version worldwide but also the shortest version of them all. Available on the US DVD by Ground Zero with English audio. Also available on the UK releases, the German VHS releases and the recently released German DVD. Apparently, still not in its original aspect ratio but at least in widescreen. With a length of 80 minutes, the French VHS appears to be longer at first glance. But the fact of the matter is that it simply runs with less frames per second (something between PAL/NTSC). The French VHS contains the Export Version as well.
The VHS releases from the US and Hong Kong by Ocean Shores have not been available for this comparison. Reliable information regarding the running time could not be found either. Since these release are supposed to contain English audio as well, it is possible that those also contain the Export Version.
The US DVD by Videoasia
As mentioned before, the cuts on the longer US release by Videoasia are probably results of a bad master. In other words, it does not look like these scenes are missing for censorship reasons. It just would not make any sense at all to cut these little plot elements. All in all, there is just half-a-minute of footage worth mentioning. Some of them lack at least one entire shot. Keeping the PAL/NTSC difference in mind, the further minute of missing footage are nothing but frame cuts with a length of less than 0.5 seconds during the entire movie. This simply emphasizes the bad condition the master used for this DVD was in.
Basically, the Japanese VHS is not really watchable either - due to the massive loss of information (please see the screenshot comparison below). Qualitywise, the Japanese VHS is worse than the US DVD. Bad coloring and subtitles placed out of the visible image section just spoil the fun and the audio is anything but perfect, too. In this context, I would like to the mention the Taiwanese VHS for which a seperate comparison has been made. With the result that both the Taiwanese VHS and the US DVD contain the same version. The English subtitles are often placed out of the image section as well but at least, the colors have not been filtered yet which means it looks a bit nicer.
All in all, one can say that despite additional cuts (more about that in the seperate comparison), the Export Version on the German is the best choice. Regarding image and audio quality, there is no better release available worldwide. The cuts are not as "bad" as known from other movies of the genre - more dedtails in the seperate comparison.
Time index refers to
US DVD (in PAL) / Japanese VHS (in NTSC)
The Japanese VHS contains several logos at the beginning.
For the sake of completeness: The Taiwanese VHS is as long as the US DVD resp. uses the same master without amateur-like filters. The only difference: There are two additional logos with a length of 21 sec at th beginning:
The following opening credits are basically the same. Due to the zoomed image section, the US DVD lacks some of them though.
As one can see, the Japanese VHS is stretched during the opening credits. As for the rest, it is zoomed in even more than the US DVD. The second comparison screenshot shows a scene a few minutes later which also illustrate the hardcoded subtitles in both versions.
Speaking of which: Here are screenshots of the exact same scene from the other versions.
19:19 / 20:54-20:58
The conversation is a little longer.
The Export Version contains this scene: Fong complains that his father always keeps things from him which his dad justifies with having his reasons.
38:30 / 41:06-41:12
The shot of the coin on the forehead is longer plus the following shot starts a little earlier.
49:02 / 52:15-52:28
Extended shot of Fong and his buddy going through the door. Then the laughing father.
The following scene at the table (he counts the money he made with a smile on his face) also begins a little earlier.
58:30-58:32 / 62:24-62:26
Weird: On the US DVD, the shot of them is a little longer while the close-up of the feet starts a bit earlier on the Japanese VHS.
67:47 / 72:09-72:14
The man with the wart makes a comment after the woman that seems pretty from behind turns out to be an old woman.
She leaves upset and the following shot starts slightly earlier as well.
87:02 / 92:27-92:33
The baldie moves back and forth longer plus the fight goes on for a little bit (right before everyone take a run at each other).