Comparison between the cut Blu-ray/DVD from Austria by Cinestrange Extreme and the Greek VHS by Olympic Video as well as the Danish VHS by Westcon
- 9 cuts
- Duration: 96.8 sec (= 1:37 min)
A few additional master errors with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the cut report. Both the Greek and the Danish VHS are not complete, so that the respective missing moments are listed individually in the appendix.
The 1985 released Majestic Thunderbolt (known in German-speaking countries as Magnum Thunderbolt) is considered as one of the highlights of Godfrey Ho's cinematic legacy among many trash fans. Especially in Germany the cult status was cemented by an entertaining as well as being banned for the violent scenes according to §131 StGB. The German VHS was confiscated, which, as so often, contained a heavily censored version. A DVD never existed and also abroad there were only VHS releases, which were mostly zoomed in to a horrible 1,33:1 full screen picture. The Greek VHS was at least in ~ 1.6:1, which compared to the original picture format 2.35:1 still loses quite some information, but is already much more presentable. The fun is spoiled though by the burned-in subtitles in Greek.
On 15. May 2020 the digitial release premiere with German audio was released by Cinestrange Extreme in Austria. It comes in a mediabook and curiously, besides a DVD there is even a Blu-ray. In the beginning the label even promised a "digitally remastered HD version, scanned by 35mm cinema reels". This gave hope to fans, as recently the IFD Legacy Edition by AVV / WMM featured fresh true HD masters for the titles Ninja Operation 6: Champion on Fire, Ninja Operation 7: Royal Warriors and Mission Thunderbolt. Others titles in this series had clearly outdated masters, but these were at least only given a DVD-only release while. Those three are the only ones that were offered as Blu-rays, so it sounded reasonable that Cinestrange might have gotten a good HD master here as well.
On the Mediabook backcover of Majestic Thunderbolt, however, the promise has been toned down to "newly scanned and digitally remastered", but when looking at the disc, disillusionment quickly sets in. The picture doesn't get beyond VHS quality, has some deinterlacing traces and the "16:9" format vaguely promised on the cover is actually pillarboxed: Again, it was based on a heavily zoomed master and the actual format is 1.37:1. Thick black bars fill out the sides where you should still see people. The Blu-ray also runs in 1080i and thus at the same speed of 25fps as the DVD.
On top of that the movie is also cut by 1.5 minutes. Various flaws that seem to be master errors are to be complained about, but also a nearly one-minute sex-/sadomaso scene. This was already shortened on the German VHS and therefore wasn't available with German dub. It is quite possible that the rights holder IFD simply could not offer another version. Even AVV often had to find out that, apart from the HD titles mentioned, Joseph Lai only archived zoomed versions and/or cut versions in his warehouse. Nevertheless, one could have decided against a Blu-ray release that would have raised false expectations. Even a re-insertion to the clearly missing scenes from another source would have been clearly expected for such a product in the premium price class.
UPDATE: Cinestrange Extreme reached out to us and at least wants to offer a replacement DVD with the uncut version. Movie-censorship.com already provided the Greek and Danish VHS to insert the missing pieces. According to the label, they were in touch with Godfrey Ho personally, but before going with the cut version seen on disc he first offered three different masters in a quality that was even wors. Therefore Cinestrange also asked if any collector worldwide has access to a different print without burnt-in subtitles, so they can provide a better "clean" uncut version of the movie on the replacement DVD. To get in touch, write a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Runtimes are arranged according to the scheme
Austria Blu-ray / Greek VHS
The German Blu-ray/DVD has, like the Danish VHS, the well-known IFD logo. In the Greek VHS this was replaced by references to the VHS label, which we have included here in the runtime.
Greek VHS 3 sec longer
Quite typical for especially the IFD Masters: The whole film is in full screen, but only in the opening credits sequence, which mainly shows landscape shots, the picture was simply stretched upwards. Already by the readable credits you can see that here at least for a short time the original picture format is "hidden". If you corrects this by hand to 2,35:1, it gives a first insight how much is already withheld in the aspect ratio of the Greek VHS, but also even more so from the more strongly zoomed 1,33:1-frame.
CS-Blu-ray 21:28 / GR-VHS 21:27
Missing in both the Cinestrange (CS) Blu-ray and the Greek VHS: The woman in red appears earlier in the Danish VHS at the beginning of the scene.
+ 4.9 sec
21:44 / 21:44
Jumpcut at the beginning of one of the shots during this scene block, which unfortunately is quite dark in every known release.
25:49 / 25:50-26:48
The scene outside at the funeral plays a little longer, then (just like in the old German VHS) the beginning of the following sequence is missing. Starting with the close-up on a nude picture, the camera moves back and gives a view of Franco and his playmate enjoying themselves in bed. But the cuddling scenario is not enough for Franco, he starts to beat Anna. She looks at him frightened and Franco has an idea. With the shot where she is hanging from the ceiling tied up, the Cinestrange Blu-ray sets in again.
32:22 / 33:21-33:25
Again, a sex scene starts a little earlier, the camera pans down.
51:45 / 52:48-53:00
Franco grumbles at the henchman a little longer at the end of the scene. By the way, this was also missing on the German VHS.
57:43 / 58:58-59:07
After Anna has been dipped into the water, William comes up the stairs earlier. Also missing on the German VHS.
60:22 / 61:46-61:49
Mr. Chan can be seen a little longer at the end of the scene.
66:26 / 67:53-67:55
The Korean cop crouches in the bushes a little early. This was also missing on the German VHS.
70:04 / 71:33-71:42
Alan walks longer through the alleys and the follow-up shot with Alan inside also a little earlier. This was also missing at the German VHS - although the 30 seconds before were censored for violence.
Finally a small image comparison. The greek VHS is, as already mentioned, zoomed, but still acceptable. Although the German BD at least occasionally moves to the left or right to the speaking persons (Pan & Scan), scenes with persons placed on both sides naturally can't be represented very well.
Here is a comparison with the trailer that can be found on Japanese VHS. The trailer as well as the full movie is heavily blurred in all nude scenes. But at least you can guess how much more should actually be shown in 2.35:1 throughout the whole movie.
Apart from that, there is already a cut (see CS-Blu-ray 21:28 / GR-VHS 21:27) listed above for the Greek VHS, which is also missing on the German Blu-ray. The following must cut can be added exclusively for the Greek VHS:
CS-Blu-ray 21:00-21:06 / DK-VHS 20:57-21:02 / GR-VHS 21:05
Included in both the German Blu-ray and the Danish VHS: The guy crys out in pain a little longer on the floor and his opponent dances towards him earlier in a long shot. The follow-up shot also starts two frames earlier before the kick in the stomach.
Note: For a further comparison of the image quality we have illustrated this scene from both the German Blu-ray and the Danish VHS. Same story in the following cuts of the Danish VHS, where we respectively used the Greek VHS in comparison.
But the Danishe VHS isn't 100% uncut either:
CS-Blu-ray 02:16-02:17 / DK-VHS 02:14 / GR-VHS 02:19-02:20
The first shot right after the plane on the airport starts a little later on the Danish VHS.
CS-Blu-ray 11:09-11:10 / DK-VHS 11:06 / GR-VHS 11:13-11:14
The feet are shown a little later on the Danish VHS.
CS-Blu-ray 50:54-50:56 / DK-VHS 51:58 / GR-VHS 51:58-52:00
The photo is shown a moment longer. Franco throws it ahead of him when the follow-up shot starts a little earliert.
CS-Blu-ray 80:16-80:18 / DK-VHS 81:51 / GR-VHS 81:54-81:57
The sex scene begins a little earlier on the GR.
Note: The Cinestrange Blu-ray also loses the first 0.4 seconds of this shot. It was not calculated as cut above because of the shorter moment and irrelevance.