Comparison between the US VHS Cut and the International Version (both included on the British Blu-ray by Arrow Video)
In the British 4K UHD box set "BRUCE LEE AT GOLDEN HARVEST" by Arrow Video, we've already summarized the essential details in the report for the Mandarin Cut of the first film THE BIG BOSS and in the report for FINAL GAME OF DEATH. It's practically a must-buy for die-hard fans, especially due to these two significant alternate versions.
Although Game of Death II (aka Tower of Death) doesn't really count among Lee's filmography, you can also find a few exclusive film snippets with the real Lee here. As the main feature, you get a new HD master of the international theatrical version of the film, which is slightly longer than the Chinese version. The latter is, of course, also included, as well as a separate HD scan of the alternative Korean version without the trashy Bruceploitation storyline – unfortunately, this version is cut by 4 minutes.
In this report, we're focusing on the fourth and final version on the disc, the (HD reconstructed) US VHS Cut. Interestingly, in the introductory sequence on the American VHS, some archival snippets with Bruce were removed. Most of these are moments from the Warner title Enter the Dragon which suggests a rights issue. However, other sections and outtakes from it are included. Unfortunately, the greenhouse fight is completely missing. Conversely, there's a completely different and notably longer ending credits montage, in which some highlights from the film are repeated.
All in all, not a particularly exciting variation of the film. Nevertheless, it's nice that they've also reconstructed this version, which could have a small nostalgia bonus for some VHS era fans, for the sake of completeness.
Runtime indications are arranged according to the following pattern:
00:20-00:29 / 00:20-00:29
After the Golden Harvest logo, the initial shots of Bruce before the training session of Hwang Jang-lee are replaced.
No time difference
01:10 / 01:10-01:19
This is where the part that the US Cut moved to the beginning actually comes in the international version: Thus, the training session of Hwang is not interrupted in the US VHS Cut.
01:51 / 02:00-02:10
There's also a shot of Bruce training from above. This smoothly transitions to the drawing.
03:02 / 03:21-03:23
Bruce is served his tea a little earlier.
03:48-03:49 / 04:09-04:12
Different archival footage of Bruce.
International Version 1.4 sec longer
04:00 / 04:24-04:26
Another cut to Bruce is completely missing.
04:02 / 04:28-09:26
Hwang helps the American up a bit longer, then the fight continues a bit more. Hwang delivers a powerful slow-motion kick, and his opponent rushes away.
Following that, Bruce talks with Hwang and this transitions smoothly to the greenhouse fight against Casanova Wong.
We'll only roughly depict this fight scene here, as fans might be familiar with it. It was also present in some Asian versions of the previous film, making it somewhat recycled for the international version of Part 2. Finally, it smoothly transitions again...
...and lastly, you briefly see Bruce and Hwang once more.
a total of 298.1 seconds (= 4:58 min)
88:40-94:46 / 94:04-95:58
The credits have been completely replaced. In the international version, there's a sequence in the style of the previous film with various images of Bruce and colorful effects.
The US VHS Cut instead presents an extensively long montage of fight scenes and overall "highlights" (such as the funeral) from the movie. Interestingly, parts of the greenhouse fight are shown here, and Casanova is credited in the credits despite the scene being absent in the film before. A slower version of the title song plays in the background.
US VHS Cut 251.2 seconds (= 4:11 min) longer