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Tropic Thunder


  • R-rated
  • Unrated Director's Cut
Release: Jan 13, 2009 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: enemy - external link: IMDB
With Tropic Thunder comedian Ben Stiller who directed, produced and starred in it, delivered a good movie whose trailer promised a lot of potential. Looking at the budget of 92 mio. dollars and the gross revenue of only twice the costs this seems like a little of a disappointment regarding the hype the film created. But one shouldn't be confused by that because the concept is somewhat new and with bizarre characters such as the dark-skinned (!) soldier played by Robert Downey Jr. or the sleazy, cussing and sometimes dancing producer played self-depriciatingly by Tom Cruise the movie actually has a lot to offer.

The Director's Cut: On November 18th 2008 Tropic Thunder has been released on the American market in two versions. Aside from the theatrical version, rated R by the MPAA, an unrated Director's Cut has been put out on DVD, delivering a considerable extended version. The latter includes obligatory new scenes. Some of those even give the film more depth and reduce the narrative hectic present in the theatrical cut. Other scenes and various extensions haven't been necessary and seem like filling material.

But aside from story elements there's also new included violence. Especially the opening war sequence includes many little extensions which here and there seem like violence cuts made for the R-rating.

Comparison between the theatrical version (R-rated) and the Unrated Director's Cut (both released by Dreamworks Home Entertainment)

61 changes, including

34 extended scenes
12 additional scenes
9 scenes with alternate material
5 scenes that are longer in the R-rated version
1 music change

Altogether the Unrated Director's Cut is 1035,96 seconds (ca. 17 minutes 16 seconds longer than the theatrical version (R-rated).
Extended scene
0:06:06: More soldiers are getting killed. One of them gets drilled bloodily while others fly through the air, screaming.
6,32 Sec.

Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 0:06:15
Unrated: 0:06:21
The pan with Lazarus shooting is longer. He screams at Portnoy to move over to Sandusky. Explosions happen in the background with soldiers getting affected by them. Eventually Portnoy starts moving, encouraged by Lazarus. Another soldier is torn apart by a grenade in the background, bits and pieces of him are flying through the air. Portnoy finishes his sprint and gets to the radio operator and Sandusky who is in position on the ground. In the R-rated we instantly cut from Lazarus to the radio operator whereas the Unrated cuts back and forth between the both of them.
The Unrated is 15,12 sec. longer


Alternate material
R-rated: 0:06:42:
Unrated: 0:06:58
Both versions show the scene with different images. The R-rated simply continues the shot. Portnoy gets splattered with blood from the skull, then we cut to Sandusky yelling into the radio. The Unrated shows Portnoy in a shot from the side as he tries to stop the blood gushing from the skull of his dead comrade, then we cut to Sandusky but in a slightly different shot. He yells a sentence more into the radio.
The Unrated is 2,76 sec. longer


Extended scene
0:07:03: Sandusky yells "Rock'n'Roll!" into the radio.
0,8 sec.

Extended scene
0:07:08: Sandusky going down lasts a moment longer.
0,68 sec.

Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 0:06:50
Unrated: 0:07:09
: The R-rated shows the shocked looking Portnoy followed by Sandusky falling to the ground. The Vietcong quickly stabs his bayonet equipped rifle into his guts. The Unrated extends this shot considerably, followed by another shot of Portnoy.
The Unrated is 4,48 sec. longer


Extended scene
0:07:22: The Unrated presents a little scene extension after this. Portnoy says they have to go back. He gives the heavily injured Sandusky a morphine shot, we see his face in a close-up. The R-rated shows the previous shot of Sandusky a little longer and Alpa Chino's shot starts a little earlier. However this is so insignificant that we don't illustrate it further. It only changes the length of the Unrated material.
3,84 Sec.

Extended scene
0:07:36: The Unrated has a short shot of Sandusky being carried to the chopper, screaming and holding his intestines.
1,72 Sec.

Extended scene
0:07:48: The Unrated has other dialogue between Lazarus and Alpa Chino. Lazarus asks Alpa if he wants to risk his life and die a hero.
17,24 Sec.

Extended scene in the R-rated.
R-rated: 0:07:47
Unrated: 0:08:27
: The R-rated shows a few extra frames of Speedman's odyssey through the hail of bullets.
The R-rated is 1,08 sec. longer

Extended scene
0:08:28: After Sandusky's scream ("No!") the Unrated shows additional material. Speedman gets shot longer and falls down. Portnoy yells: "You get out of that hole!" from the chopper. Speedman gets up but falls down again after that. Intercut on Lazarus who watches him, then we cut back to Speedman. Lazarus softly says: "You make it home now.".
22,64 Sec.

Extended scene
0:09:09: A new short scene with Lazarus. He tells his comrades he hopes they like hamburger meat becaus this is what he's going to bring back with him (reference to Speedman's condition).
8,28 Sec.

Extended scene
0:09:35: The armed co-pilot gets shot inside the chopper.
2,08 Sec.

Additional scene
0:09:39: Lazarus shoots an approching Vietcong with the shotgun. The VC goes down in slow motion.
4,32 Sec.

Extended scene
0:09:44: After the chopper scene we see Lazarus slaughtering his enemies in short shots. Sandusky yells: "Fuck you, Charlie!".
9,68 Sec.

Extended scene
0:10:36: The dialogue between Speedman and Lazarus has been extended in the middle. Speedman asks Lazarus why people have to raise their sticks against each other.
26,8 Sec.

Alternate material/extended dialogue
0:11:12: There are different dialogue and shots in both versions. Speedman says a sentence at a different point. The Unrated runs a little longer.
In the R-rated Speedman says that he'll teach Lazarus how to juggle.
In the Unrated they talk about playing in a band together.
The Unrated is 15,52 sec. longer


Additional scene in the R-rated
0:10:59: In the R-rated Alpa Chino receives a cell phone call inside the chopper.
3,88 Sec.

Additional scene
0:13:30: First we see Grossman's assistant feeding off the buffet and spitting back the strawberry (this scene comes later in the R-rated and is not added to the duration of the new material).
Cockburn fidgets excited and yells "And go!". Cut to Speedman and Lazarus.
Lazarus: "Let's go. You feel it? You feel me?"
Speedman: "You are my..."
Lazarus: "I am your brother."
Lazarus: "We've seen it all, man."
All of a sudden we see a boom mike reaching into the frame, distracting Speedman. He looks into the camera and says to Cockburn: "I'm sorry, Damien. Do you see that? The little froggy on the boom mike. It's right in my eyeline."
We see a frog hanging from the mike.
Cut to Alpa Chino getting another call. He takes it.
Cut back to Speedman and Lazarus.
Lazarus: "It's been there the whole show."
Speedman: "Yeah, it's right in my face. I'm staring at a frog, I'm trying to feel..."
Lazarus: "It's always the yellow frog that brings them black frog on Fridays, man."
Back to Alpa Chino who denies on the phone to purposely have urinated on a girl. She just got in the way as he was doing his business.
38,6 Sec.

Alternate material
R-rated: 0:12:24
Unrated: 0:14:48
: Here both scenes show a different scene in the pyrotechnician's headquarters. In the R-rated Cody yells: "Here they come!". Jets are speeding past in the background.
In the Unrated he limps around telling his local assistants: "You're tangling me, you're fucking tangling me, God damn it!"
The Unrated runs a little longer.
The Unrated is 2,08 sec. longer

Alternate material/additional scene
R-rated: 0:12:28
Unrated: 0:14:54
In this sequence both version differ heavily. Both have shots that are missing in the other. The Unrated is a little more vulgar and longer. Following are descriptions of the course of each sequence.
R-rated: Lazarus says: "Can I make a pee-pee?". Cockburn is pissed off by some employees, loses it, throws away some guy's buffet tray and furiously jumps up and down. Cody sees it from the pyro stand and interprets it as the signal for the napalm effect.

Unrated: In the Unrated he says: "I'm going potty. You wanna hold my dick?".
Then there is a scene on the pyro stand with Cody yelling at his assistants. Cody keeps bitching, Cockburn gets a hint by Grossman's assistant regarding a shot causing Cockburn to throw another guys buffet tray away and reacting rather furious. He nags and sceams bloody murder and Cody interprets it as the signal.
The Unrated is 19,44 sec. longer


Alternate material
R-Rated: 0:16:59
Unrated: 0:19:41
Here the scene is longer because Tugg's agent looks through an illustrated book with topless girls. Aside from that he also says another vulgar sentence.
The Unrated is 9,16 sec. longer


Extended scene
R-rated: 0:17:21
Unrated: 0:20:11
This scene runs longer in the Unrated. We see the boy Tugg is supposed to adopt, sitting in a wooden play pen, dressed in military uniform, holding a combat knife and being watched by two bodyguards. Tugg says into the phone: "I feel like all the good ones are gone."
The Unrated is 7,44 sec. longer

Alternate material
R-rated: 0:19:11
Unrated: 0:22:27
This scene of Cockburn getting verbally smashed by Grossman during the video briefing is nit only longer in the Unrated but also presents different shots. Here Grossman's assistant explodes to look better in front of his boss.
The Unrated is 12,76 sec. longer

Additional scene
0:23:42: Here is an all new sequence which elaborates on Cockburn's motivation to send his cast off into the jungle. There's a big party at night where Cockburn tries to talk with his actors about the upcoming trip into the wilderness but they just treat him disrespectful and don't take him serious. There are also several scenes with the characters, giving them more depth. Portnoy's drug addiction is included and Speedman wants to give a speech but is laughed upon becuase of his portrayal as "Simple Jack". Overall it's a long scene whose trimming for the theatrical cut is comprehensible but nevertheless the film benefits from it.
190,48 Sec.

Extended scene
Four Leaf keeps talking in riddles and Cockburn doesn't get anything. Unnecessary extension.
15,6 Sec.

Additional scene
0:29:27: Speedman reaches into his backpack and pulls out a hand grenade filled with M&M's. He unscrewes it and offers them to Alpa Chino and Lazarus but the decline.
15,36 Sec.

Music change
Shortly after Speedman convinced Lazarus to keep acting in the jungle both version show different music on the audiotrack. The R-rated plays a typical Vietnamese sounding song with guitar and vocals whereas the Unrated comes with a slow-paced, melodic song.

Screenshot for orientation:

Extended scene
0:37:19 : Here's more unimportant film dialogue.
6,6 Sec.

Extended scene
0:42:20: Speedman goes on about his method acting to portray a mentally challengend person. He brushed his teeth or rode the bus in character..
4,4 Sec.

Extended scene
0:42:46: And again we have more dialogue.
10,36 Sec.

Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 0:36:38
Unrated: 0:43:07
: And again more talking about Speedman's portrayal. In the Unrated Lazarus tells something about how to play a mentally challenged character whereas we only see Speedman saying that this is all very crazy in the R-rated.
The Unrated is 12,68 sec. longer

Extended scene with alternate material
Unrated: 0:44:04: In the Unrated Lazarus says that Forrest Gump is a war hero whereas he brings up Peter Sellers in "Being There" as an example in the R-rated.
The Unrated is 1 frame (0,04 sec.) longer

Additional scene
0:45:29: First of all we cut to the surprised Cody in the Unrated before we cut to the group in the jungle. Portnoy complains about the walking which brings Speedman to remind them that they should remain in character. However Portnoy moans about the weight of his rifle and that he wants the plastic rifle back he got from the prop guy. Speedman looks at the map, Lazarus tries to get a glance but Speedman won't let him because Cockburn gave it to him. Lazarus says the map is for all of them and that Speedman holds it upside down. Then Portnoy and Alpa Chino start fighting. Chino mentions the ridicule of Portnoy's "Fattie" franchise while Portnoy nags about Chino's energy drink and says that Chino would be proud to have a franchise like that. Meanwhile the argument between Speedman and Lazarus about the map continues. Also the dispute between Portnoy and Chino keeps going. Eventualy Speedman, the "leader", interrupts the bitching and suggests to have a break but to keep an eye open because the enemy doesn't care about breaks.
126,8 Sec.

Extended scene
0:48:32: In the Unrated Lazarus tells Sandusky about his future projects about Abraham Lincoln and his assassin Booth as they were young. Lazarus mentions that Sandusky looks like Lincoln and predicts him chances for a job. This section is new. After that there's a different shot when Lazarus says the same thing in both versions.
26,12 Sec.

Extended scene with alternate material
0:49:05: The scene differs a little in dialogue. In the R-rated Speedman tells Sandusky that he needs him on his side. He calls him Kyle by mistake and Sandusky corrects it by telling him his name's Kevin. Speedman answers "Good" and asks if he can count on Sandusky.
In the Unrated Speedman says that he respects Sandusky because he was in the boot camp and at the auditions. He then asks if he still can count on him and calls him Kyle. Sandusky corrects him and Speedman says "Good."
The Unrated is 3,4 sec. longer

Alternate material
R-rated: 0:49:42
Unrated: 0:58:29
: There are differences in the shots of the stabbed Panda. The R-rated shows a zoomed in shot of the head while the Unrated presents the bloody, stab wound covered torso of the Panda. The knife still sticks in it's chest.
The R-rated is 1 frame (0,04 sec.) longer


Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 0:52:10
Unrated: 1:00:57
: In the Unrated Peck says after his question who's with Speedman that he guesses it's Nick Stevens whom he calls a dirty word.
The Unrated is 3,24 sec. longer

Additional scene
1:01:14: We see Peck's assistant Vivica giggling around with with some guy. Peck asks her if he still has any appointments today and she answers that there was something about "Two and a half men". He orders her to cancel that and to bring him the "Tropic Thunder" contract because he's on his way to Len Grossman.
19,48 Sec.

Additional scene in the R-rated
0:55:14: There's a missing intercut on one of the drug henchmen walking towards Speedman. In exchange the following shot starts earlier.
The R-rated is 0,44 sec. longer

Alternate material:
R-rated: 0:55:17
Unrated: 1:04:24
: In the R-rated Speedman says a line from the screenplay to the drug henchmen. But he only spits at Speedman so Tugg does the same. They continue this, Speedman still thinks this is actor's training. He then gets pulled away and he yells they should bring the torture scene now which we don't get to see in this version.
The Unrated shows Speedman moaning while he's being carried through the village. We then cut to the others in the wilderness. Sandusky monologues about Renny Harlin's abilities as a director and that he did a great job on "Cliffhanger". Eventually Portnoy tells him to shut up. Then the torture scene follows. Speedman sits in a cabin. Across of him is a fighter of the syndicate. He asks Speedman who's been sending him but Speedman stays in character and pretends to be Tayback. The fighter pours him a tea and doesn't seem to really consider torturing him. However, Speedman still thinks that his character is about to get tortured. He eventually kicks the fighter in the crotch. The fighter falls on his back and now is pissed. Speedman encourages him to push it and give his best performance possible. Both yell at each other before the fighter leaves the room ranting.
The Unrated is 93,48 sec. longer


Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 0:56:57
Unrated: 1:07:20
: In the Unrated Portnoy confuses the drug triangle with the Bermuda triangle and says they have no chance because even boats and planes disappear here. The others point out his mistake. The R-rated misses this but offers alternate shots.
The Unrated is 15,64 sec. longer

Alternate material:
R-rated: 1:04:57
Unrated: 1:15:35
: In the R-rated Portnoy says "Fine." whereas in the Unrated he doesn't agree so much.
The Unrated is 0,96 sec. longer


Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 1:07:39
Unrated: 1:18:19
: In the Unrated Grossman's assistant responds to Peck's consideration about Speedman possibly getting killed with "And?". Peck looking disbelieving appears in the R-rated as well. Grossman's next sentence is almost identical to what he says in the R-rated, but here he starts it with "And" and there are also different shots being used.
The Unrated is 11 sec. longer

Extended scene
1:18:54: Grossman says that Peck storms into his house for a TV clause of the contract and that he represents a star who made third rank on the "Sexiest Man Alive" voting of 1998 and if he is serious if he thinks that Grossman is anything but.
21 Sec.

Additional scene
1:19:22: In the Unrated is a camera pan along the camp to the river. Sandusky and Alpa Chino rise out of it followed by a cut to Lazarus disguised as a Chinese farmer, talking to the guards in Vietnamese but fails in saying coherent sentences. He then reveals Portnoy lying on the bull. That last bit is not added into the duration of this scene because it also is included in the R-rated but comes at a later point.
19,6 sec.

Additional scene
1:20:09: To come off more believable Lazarus hits Portnoy with a birch several times and again speaking incoherent sentences in Vietnamese. The gate opens and Portnoy is mad at Lazarus.
22,4 sec.

Extended scene
1:20:42: First we see Lazarus and Portnoy from a distance. Then we cut to Sandusky and Alpa Chino walking through the river. The next shot starts a few frames earlier in the R-rated.
9,4 sec.

Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 1:19:04
Unrated: 1:38:51
: Hier are more scenes of the gangsters approaching. Also we see Sandusky and Alpa Chino hiding under a bridge. The R-rated shows a different, way shorter shot of the gansgters approaching.
The Unrated is 13,24 sec. longer

Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 1:39:11
Unrated: 1:19:13
: Here we have mor nonsense talk of Lazarus. Eventually he again hits Portnoy with the birch. The R-rated shows this too, but it's way shorter.
The Unrated is 20,24 sec. longer

Extended scene with alternate material
R-rated: 1:19:47
Unrated: 1:40:02
: Again Lazarus talks more nonsense. Portnoy says he thinks Lazarus improvisation is useless. Lazarus hits him for that again while Sandusky sneaks around in the background. Lazarus is asked why he wears a mask which he responds to with explaining he looks like a koi sticking in a cookie. The R-rated saves a lot of this, it only shows the essentials in slightly different shots.
The Unrated is 22,56 sec. longer

Extended scene
1:40:43: Lazarus talks more nonsense.
20,2 sec.

Extended scene in the R-rated
1:20:19: Cody stands up and walks over to the backpack with the explosivese. Later, only the Unrated shows a shot of Alpa Chino.
The R-rated is 1,72 sec. longer

Additional scene
1:45:19: Alpa Chino praises himself in front of the gangsters he's supposed to be watching. He says that he is so famous and won a lot of awards. One of the gagnsters quotes a movie title of the "real" Al Pacino and slowly moves toward a rifle. The R-rated has a different shot of him moving in the rifle's direction.
50,08 sec.

Additional scene with aternate material
R-rated: 1:25:14
Unrated: 1:47:07
: In the Unrated there's another scene of Cody blowing up a guard's stand with a sling shot Rambo style. The stand falls over in several shots. The R-rated only has a shot of Alpa Chino running away.
23,04 sec.

Additional scene
1:48:18: A short scene on the opium poppy field. Lots of armed soldiers receive a gangsters call for help over radio and start moving.
10,4 sec.

Extended scene
1:48:55: Portnoy looks at Lazarus uncomprehending and asks, what the hell he's talking about. Sandusky tells them that it's time to leave but Lazarus keeps talking nonsense.
11,04 sec.

Additional scene
1:54:14: The gangsters walk towards the chopper in another short shot.
4,24 sec.

Additional scene
1:54:31: Portnoy and Cody are happy they made it and high-five each other.

5 sec.

Extended scene
1:54:46: Lazarus says more insisting that Speedman should come with them and shortly falls back into character.
3,28 sec.