Already prior to its release in the USA, "Menace II Society" had do be cut slightly in order to avoid an NC-17 Rating. Later, "Menace II Society" was released on LaserDisc in an uncut edition by "Criterion", a label highly regarded by movie buffs.
Until now, this "unrated version" of the movie (which would have been rated NC-17 by the MPAA) is worldwide only available on Criterion-LaserDisc, making this LD definitely a collector´s item.
The LD can even take it up with any modern DVD-release in terms of bonus material. Besides two audio commentaries by both directors and the original picture ratio (1:1,85) it offers two deleted scenes, music videos, a making of, the original trailer and numerous interviews among other things.
The LD merely misses the 5.1-track of the DVD, although that would have been possible technically.
The movie was also released by a different Label in the USA on LD, but only in the R-Rated version.
A DVD-release of the Director´s Cut is unfortunately not in prospective, however Criterion released most of their blockbusters
on DVD with the same bonus material after the "death" of LD (e. g. Armageddon, The Rock, Robocop). In this respect there is still hope.
The new issue of the German DVD by Kinowelt (rated FSK 16) also includes only the slightly cut R-Rated version although Kinowelt proofed to be very flexible in the past regarding the release of uncut movies (e. g. Rambo 1-3, Highlander, Red Heat ...).
The comparison is between the unrated Director´s Cut of the Criterion-LD with the R-Rated Version.
During the flaschback, when Caine´s father (Samuel L. Jackson) shoots the man at the poker game in his house, two shots are missing: when the father starts to shoot, the man is at first shown in the front - here the last hit is missing. After this the camera angle changes: now the man is shown from behind and the bullets which hit him exit the backrest of his chair. Here the first bullet, which exits the backrest, was cut.
When A-Wachs, O-Dog and Caine set off to avenge Caine´s cousin Harold, the scene in which A-Wachs kills the second fleeing black man in the red sweater, was cut: after Caine pressed his gun into the already wounded boy´s stomach, the shots exiting from the back are cut.
This way, the murder is considerably gorier because A-Wachs is shown as he shoots three times through the young black guy and blood and big chunks fly from his back.
However, in the theatrical version these shots are not shown but only heard in the off while O-Dog and Caine run around the diner.
The finale where Caine meets his death in a hail of bullets when he lungs at the little boy on the tricycle, was also toned down:
The scene was shortened in several places, namely always when Caine got hit by a bullet. Here indeed the hit in itself is shown, but the following exit wound of the bullet got cut. Some hits were even deleted completely, e. g. the last two. Here Caine has already run quite close to the camera.
In one of the two audio commentaries on the LD, one of the directors says that the shooting of Caine´s friend Sharif (also in the finale) is cut in the old theatrical version, too.
But this is definitely a mistake, because the versions are absolutely identical in this aspect.
about 2 sec. totally