Compared are the French VHS by René Chateau and the old US DVD by 20th Century Fox (Master Collection)
French VHS: 93:40 min in PAL
Old US DVD: 100:13 min in NTSC (= 96:07 min in PAL)
- 3 cuts
- Running time of the cuts: 160.3 sec (= 2:40 min)
Additional differences in the running time is a result of some minor jump cuts in the French Version (below 0.5 sec each), the extended scenes in the French Version (see BBFC18 vs UFA and UK DVD vs Old US DVD), alternate logos and a subsequent stop down in the French Version.
The French VHS of the Bruce Lee classic The Big Boss is a further curiosity of the several existing versions.
The most important fact for fans at first: this is the only legal release worldwide which contains the famous part of the complete final sequence. The beginning of the scene, which appears in the "usual version" (extended shot of Cheng's fingers in Mi's chest and the tracking shot of his body), and the well-known ending from the old US DVD or the German UFA Tape (complete 180 degrees spin of the opponent) are completely in it. The version on the German Tape contains comes really close, but unfortenately the German Tape has a cut for censorship in the middle (approx. 3 sec) to get the FSK 18 rating.
Furthermore almost each moment (presumably jump cuts), mentioned in this comparison and in the "BBFC 18 - FSK 18 Tape" comparison, which is actually only on the German FSK 18 Tape by UFA, is also in it. With the earlier mentionend "almost" we have the reason for this comparison because the French VHS isn't completely uncut either. It contains one cut in the final fight plus two missing plot scenes in the first half of the film. Unfortenately one of these scenes contains the ominous "Fabric Run" and the following conversation between James Tien and the manager. Both is on the US DVD as well, but the German Tape is extended here. Due to the fact that the French VHS contains the same master as the German UFA Tape, it would be extended here, too. But for some reason the complete scene is missing, in oppposite to the other versions.
The quality of the French VHS is much better than the quality of the German Tape: aspect ratio 2.35:1, which means it's like it was in theaters, and the quality of the images isn't that far away from the DVD (in opposite to the zoomed German VHS with wishy-washy colors). Anyway it's pretty sad because without these cuts, this version would be an ultimate source for the (compared with the DVD) use of the extended dialoges without much effort.
In the following the above mentioned extended scenes of the French VHS aren't considered, only the cuts are listed.
The running time refers to the French VHS
Alternate logos and completely different opening credits. Just text boxes in the French Version with an even background.
The old US DVD is 14 sec longer.
Missing scene after the "disposal" of the two cousins: Hsiu (James Tien) and the other workers are asking for their friends.
First Hsiu asks the workers but nobody knows. That's why he also asks the foreman with beard and ponytail, who tries to get rid of him with excuses like alcohol and prostitutes. Hsiu asks for the manager and goes straight to his office. The manager pretends to be clueless but Hsiu remains stubborn and mentions his friends had been called into the manager's office after work. The manager still comes up with some excuses, the boss had had the intention to talk to them about sth. and he could ask him. Hsiu leaves and tells his collegues, who want to support him. They announce to come with him.
Extended shot: Mi and his son get up and go into the house. Some henchmen talk to them while they're passig by. Then another worker calls for Hsiu and one of his collegues; two longer shots of their arrival at Mi's estate. Both versions are equal again with the shot of the inside of the house.
Finally a violent scene is missing: Cheng bends over Mi and punches his face several times after he dropped on the ground. Then Cheng, completely exhausted, crumples and the camera zooms backwards, police horns in the backgrounds.