Comparison between the censored Australian Blu-ray by Universal / Sony Pictures (MA 15+) and the uncensored German Blu-ray by Concorde (the latter identical to the Australian 4K UHD by Universal / Sony Pictures)
- One censored scene
- No time difference
International censorship on the JOHN WICK films
John Wick 3: Parabellum once again saw Keanu Reeves taking on the role of a contract killer who is allowed to creatively shred his way through countless adversaries in an overstylised action flic. As its two predecessors it was rated R in the US and seems to be uncut this way without any known censorship problems.
As a curiosity one can address extensive censorship in India on all 3 films. Apart from violent cuts this also included blurred middle fingers as well as dialogue censorships (Source). Especially for part 3 there were several articles and viewer complaints on the internet.
In the UK the third installment received a BBFC 15 rating without cuts this time. This was interesting because part 2 had to be cut for this classification. At that time not only the British had to suffer, because John Wick: Chapter 2 was subsequently only released in the shortened BBFC 15 version on Blu-ray in Australia as well. According to this comment part 2 was still uncut in the cinema with the same rating MA 15+. As a result, maybe this wasn't deliberate censorship for the lower rating in Australia, but here the British version might have simply been adopted by mistake from the Australian rights holder.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 it looked a bit different for the Australians now. In this case the film was rated with MA 15+ for the release in cinemas but later a new classification with the highest rating R 18+ appeared in the Australian ratings database. This also had the quite specific information "UHD Release Version" attached to it. What is the difference between these two different versions?
Rating difficulties for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 in Australia
First of all it can be stated that the Australian 4K-UHD with R 18+ rating represents the regular Uncut version and thus corresponds to the British BBFC 15 evaluation, the American R-Rated and also the German Blu-ray with FSK 18. So there is no longer version of the movie, but conversely it can be said that the film was censored in Australia so that people from the age of 15 could already see it in cinemas.
From a release point of view, one can immediately state that in Australia only the censored version is included on both DVD and Blu-ray. The 4K Blu-ray with R 18+ rating is the only uncensored release in Down Under and in the corresponding set one can additionally also find a Blu-ray. Even though there is no separate rating to be found, this regular Blu-ray is just the censored disc with MA 15+ rating. Hence, in Australia the original uncensored version is an exclusive for fans with UHD equipment.
If you compare the differences with your average censored versions in e.g. America, Germany or even UK, you have to note that it has been modified quite cautiously. Only the knife in the eye scene is affected and the scene itself is not cut by a single frame. Bu by zooming in, the explicit part of the picture is hidden in Australia. The piercing of the eye only happens offscreen in this version. The framing may seem a bit strange but at least the action is still hinted at. All other bloody shootouts or violent moments remained untouched.
On the Facebook-Post at Media Censorship in Australia a user also pointed out the fight with the Frenchman in the library at the beginning as well as a shotgun headshot in the showdown. This info was adapted on the Melonfarmers listing, but in other censorship comments of moviegoers on Reddit or similar sites nobody wrote about those scenes. Of course, we also had a closer look at these scenes in particular, but couldn't spot any differences.
Run time data is arranged according to the scheme
Australian Blu-ray / German Blu-ray
Before both versions continue with the Lionsgate logo, the German Blu-ray mentions Concorde while the Australian Blu-ray features StudioCanal. The Australian 4K UHD starts with Lionsgate, which led to the confusingly one minute shorter runtime on the back of the cover. The American Blu-ray also starts with the Lionsgate logo.
For the sake of completeness, we also show an example for the text insertions which were localized on the German Blu-ray.
German Blu-ray 3 sec longer
19:47-20:03 / 19:50-20:06
The complete shot, in which John slowly rams the knife into the opponent's eye on the floor, is somewhat zoomed in on the Australian Blu-ray/DVD. At first the shot is cropped at the top, then the explicit part at the bottom can't be seen.
After the identical credits, the German Blu-ray still has around 30 seconds of info about the German dub attached to the film stream. This explains the even longer runtime compared to e.g. the US Blu-ray.