Whether Beyond the Law was actually shown in US theaters in 1992 is unknown to us. Although the IMDb lists a publisher for that year, the MPAA only rated this movie in 1994 - the same year as the Pay-TV premiere of the HBO production. It ran in British cinemas as early as 1993, though - and obviously in other countries, such as Germany.
It is relatively certain, though, that there are two different versions for theatrical and TV releases and that the theatrical version is a few minutes short. While the TV-version runs for about 108 minutes, Beyond the Law ran for only 101 minutes in movie theaters. To gain a lower rating, it was seemingly cut additionally in Germany. Given that the German Blu-ray contains the complete theatrical version and the (uncut) German DVDs the TV-version, the differences between those two versions are the basis for this report.
Unfortunately, the TV-version is the better variant of the movie. Beyond the Law does not make for a good action movie - too little is happening, it is closer to the drama genre and the couple of scenes in the TV-version add a bit more depth to the film in general. Considering this it is easier to accept the unspectacular finale, as the two additional scenes in the end make it more realistic than basically every other similar film.
As mentioned earlier, the German Blu-ray (Theatrical Version) is compared to the German DVD (TV Version). In total, there are 29 differences (incl. three alternative scenes), making the TV Version 7:38 minutes longer.
The Blu-ray is missing a quotation in the beginning.
Dan wakes up, sits down on the bed for a short while and then greets his pet Harold, a cute turtle.
The construction site a bit longer and the workers who are about to be shot by the native American.
3:10 The native American shoots again.
Dan and his colleague and fatherly friend Butch having breakfast. Dan explains that he is currently having a hard time sleeping. Butch calms him down and proposes to relax for a while. He suggests Dan turn off the radio and to sleep a while in the police car. Butch covers him. They don't care about their boss, the Sheriff. He's an asshole anyway. Saying this, he also hands him a gift, an old Sheriff star with which Dan used to play.
10:52 The Sheriff is shown a moment longer just before Dan pushes him.
10:58 (ALT) Short alternative shots as Butch holds Dan back. no relevant time difference
Slightly differing shot on the Blu-ray, while in the long version, the Sheriff even threatens Butch to throw him out after he has already fired Dan.
LV: 9,5s | BD: 0,5s
A strange scene follows. The long version shows a flashback scene of Dan's uncle as Conroy talks about him - for just four frames. Then the long version repeats a short moment in which Dan sits down. All of this appears to be very clumsy.
Conroy explains that Dan's uncle hated him because he was half native American and he abused him. Some time, though, young Dan took his uncle's (a police man) gun and shot him six times in the chest. A psychiatrist confirmed, though, that Dan could not remember this later on.
Conroy continues to provoke Dan until he tells Conroy to piss off - which he does. The Blu-ray features alternative footage for a short moment.
LF: 2s | BD: 0.5s
Now, the motorcycle club is shown on the way to San Carlos. Both versions of the film feature different editing. Single shots were moved and rearranged. The long version is also much more extensive here, though, too. In an on itself, the long version has 15 additional single scenes. The images below show a small selection of the scenes which also contain intercuts to Renee during which she is shown in her photo lab.
Long version 113.5 seconds longer with 15 scenes
Conroy explains to the other people that today, there are four differenct offices present: ATF, FBI, DEA and the IRS.
In subsequence to this, a scene is moved to a different spot and Conroy's speech is also slightly altered. After he talks about the exact coordination of the arrests, he also mentions in the long version that this is supposed to stop the criminals to be forewarned.
no time difference
Dan talks to Conroy. Dan desperately wants to arrest Blood himself. Conroy is against that as Dan is, after all, his most important witness in this case and he must be kept safe at all cost. Then, though, Dan mentions the first conversation with Conroy, back when he was about to go undercover. Back then, Conroy tried to convince Dan of the contract by persuading him that he needed this job for himself to put his past, especially with his uncle who abused him, behind him. To be able to do that, Dan wants to arrest Blood himself. Conroy agrees grudgingly.
From the hill, Dan observes the other policemen surrounding Blood's trailer before driving down. This fits the previous cut. Of course, Conroy wants to protect his witness. On the Blu-ray, in contrast, the whole procedure seems a bit more relaxed and the fact that policemen are outside the trailer is a surprise.