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American Rampage


  • German VHS / International Version
  • Unrated
Release: Oct 30, 2020 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Among the more than 160 feature films that director David DeCoteau has so far produced in the B-movie and TV film sector, there were many forgettable efforts. The crime thriller American Rampage is one of them. It was made in 1989, DeCoteau's fifth year as a director. Perhaps he didn't have as many filmmaker tricks up his sleeve then to stretch his work to feature film length as he does today. Watching this film, one can almost only get angry about the wasted time spent watching aimless storylines that only serve to make him scratch the 90 minutes of runtime.

It's either brazen or helpless when you accompany a side character for almost ten minutes as he observes a drug dealer, follows him across several locations and is finally shot by him. Without any consequences for the story.This doesn't seem to be DeCoteau's number one priority anyway, as often as he takes pictures of topless women and packs aimless conversations into the film. The main investigator loses her partner and gets a new one. This one is also riddled with holes within five minutes. Who cares? She doesn't really care. So why should the audience care?

But why do we discuss American Rampage here anyway? Because with its sporadically interspersed, bloody shootouts, it was a problem for the German youth protection system. We initially wanted to write this article for our German main page but an observation changed our plan. A comparison with the US Blu-ray shows that the German version at that time had a censorship cut, which seems almost irrelevant purely from what is shown here in relation to the untouched moments of violence. The same can be said about two scene cuts. In return, the German VHS has a plot sequence that lasts almost nine minutes, which actually makes the whole thing more comprehensible in terms of character drawing. This was removed in the US version, the Blu-ray has it as a bonus. The German DVD premiere by Maritim Pictures, which has its release on October 30, 2020, has the the complete uncut version on board and is therefore somewhat of a world premiere.

The German FSK 18-VHS (by Summit) was compared to the US Blu-ray (by Massacre Video).

1 longer sequence in the German version, 3 cuts, only one of them with censorship background.

The German version runs 452.8 sec. or about 7 minutes 33 seconds longer than the US version.

Additional material in the German version
DF: 0:10:33: The German version offers a large scene block, which is completely missing from the US Blu-ray (except for the bonus section). In the headquarters, Palmer and Carl talk about the fact that Nigel becomes a risk because of his contact to the two cops. It would be better to take him out, but Carl should decide that. Then Billy and Joel bring in an emissary from a French drug manufacturer and a first shipment is agreed upon. When she leaves, the crew is again talking about the cops Rork and Hayes. Carl thinks that if they snoop around too much, they would simply kill Rork's partner, then she would surely lose her footing. Then it' s all about business, Palmer believes that he can only be the undisputed drug lord in the area if he sets a few examples, if necessary on his own people like the dissatisfied Joel.
534.92 sec. or 8:55 min.

You can see him leaving the building and saying goodbye to an assistant. We follow the assistant briefly as he gets into his car and is then transported to the afterlife by a bomb. Then Joel strolls to his car and drives around for what feels like an eternity. In between, a bomb is faded in, which in the middle of the countryside makes sure that the engine dies off first. Joel stands around at a loss and then finally decides to tinker around a bit in the engine compartment. When he then tries to start the car again, he also blows up. The US Blu-ray only gets back in when Nigel leaves his house and goes to his car, where the same fate awaits him. In the German version, at least something becomes clearer about the motives for his death.

0:40:51: The masked killer shoots six more times. But only he is to be seen. Considering the other moments of violence, all of which are uncut, the cut here seems quite nonsensical.
3,84 sec.

1:03:52: Jack watches Billy for a while and then gets out of the car to start the chase.
12.36 sec.

1:06:33: Petty waiting for Jack who has followed Billy to the hotel and is waiting impatiently for him to come out and get into his car.
65,92 sec.