Comparison between the cut US version (as VOD version from Amazon.com) and the uncut German Blu-ray from Shamrock Media
A couple of master errors with a duration of < 0.5 sec were not listed in the report.
Two major versions have always made international availability somewhat difficult for those interested. For the US release, the film was retitled Meltdown, got a new soundtrack and pseudo-modern opening credits - and of course was also cut a bit. However, only by about half a minute, including the infamous child penis scene and a few short flashback moments.
It's this US version that this report is about, which is an update (June 2022) of an earlier comparison. The US version is now also available in HD on Amazon.com as a VOD. However, the old UK DVD was available for comparison as well and it's identical to this VOD release. In addition to the UK, this version was also distributed in France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, among others. It was subsequently released in Germany in 2004 on the Special Edition ("Uncut") DVD from Laser Paradise. Curiously, even a dialogue was re-dubbed in a softened form for this, based on the US dubbed version that was also downplayed here. The "Uncut" notice, which is in principle correct with regard to the US original, but not quite correct in itself, naturally annoyed interested German fans at the time.
In Germany, by the way, only a version that was radically censored in over 50 places was released on VHS with FSK 18. Nevertheless, this was on the index from 1997 to 2022. Therefore, specially heavily cut versions were common on TV and in retail stores (with FSK 16). The "Eastern Edition" DVD was longer, but still censored by a few bits of violence.
As of June 20, 2022, there is fortunately finally a happy ending here. From Shamrock Media the German HD premiere is available in three Blu-ray mediabooks. Qualitatively clearly the best version so far and created with attention to detail. Especially for foreigners, it is certainly exciting that in addition to the well-known U.S. dubbing, the original English dub has been found, which was previously only available on an Indian VCD.
It should also be mentioned that the film is, as mentioned, uncut, but the short moment with a child's penis has been pixelated. This is understandable for legal reasons and so the scene, which we also deem quite unnecessary, is illustrated for the first time in this report.
Additional logo at the beginning of the Uncut. Not included in cut duration/quantity.
00:34 / 00:49-00:53
Right after the last production logo, the first shot of a basketball hoop is missing.
06:22 / 06:41-06:42
The second and third shots of the exploding bus have been removed.
06:32-07:39 / 06:52-08:05
The original version has more shots of the bus on fire. A text panel indicates that Kit lost his family in the explosion and would have quit the service. The following action is supposed to take place two years later in Hong Kong.
The US version instead freezes a shot of Kit and switches to a horribly cheap opening credit of its own. This is accompanied by a horrible techno soundtrack that still spills over a bit into the following scene.
Orignal version 6 sec longer
Immediately afterwards, the US version has an additional insert that refers to 2 years later. In the original version, this note only appears in the following shot of the bus - and curiously, in the US, they simply zoomed out the lower part of the image.
10:23-10:30 / 10:49-10:56
In the original version, Frankie ducks away downward and the shot runs through in one: Kit takes his place and jumps. How Frankie hurriedly runs down the stairs is only shown after a view of the fans and two shots of the jet crashing down.
The US version instead prefers to show Frankie running down the stairs immediately.
No runtime difference
10:32 / 10:59-11:01
During the fall, the U.S. version has two flashbacks to Kit's son and wife, and in between we see him in the air again.
10:33 / 11:02-11:04
Another cut to the two and Kit's wife says, "Be careful. Please, Kit!"
13:40 / 14:11-14:12
After Kit catches the reporter (Chingmy Yau) filming, she doesn't want to give the cassette out voluntarily. Before Kit lifts it up and the cassette falls to the floor, the following is missing:
Kit pretends to spit in her face. The reporter closes her eyes. Only after she has been irritated in this way can Kit lift her into the air.
14:18 / 14:50-15:00
Afterwards, when Kit sets the dogs on the two, they run to the car and drive away. The scene continues.
Reporter: "What a fucking asshole. Do you have the camera?"
Cameraman: "Sure, right next to me. Do you think I'm stupid?"
As he looks to the side he notices that there is a dog in the car. Another comically accelerated shot follows, in which the car zigzags.
24:16 / 24:57-25:01
At the beginning of the scene on the toilet, you see a close-up of the child's penis as he pees into the urinal. This short moment was pixelated by Shamrock, while earlier DVDs still showed the legally questionable shot uncensored. It is followed by a cut to Frankie, so that the impression/gag should arise here that the small penis would either belong to him or that he is jealous even of such a little boy.
55:43 / 56:27-56:29
After the shot of the screaming boy, a brief flashback to the exploding bus is missing.
77:25-78:07 / 78:11-78:53
The reporter is surprised by a terrorist and briefly discusses with him. In the original, sexual acts are implied. It starts with the terrorist saying that he has better things to do with her instead of killing her. The reporter, of necessity, alludes that she is good in using her fingers. The terrorist signals that this is not enough for him, so the reporter offers to use her tongue as well. He then does the typical clown pose with two hands on his ears and his tongue sticking out.
In the US version, instead, they just talk about her writing a story about him. This allows her to distract him without any major sexual innuendo.
Note: Also in the rest of the film the US dub naturally takes some liberties and deviates more often from the original language (which is heavily garnished with some crude jokes). Here, however, it is particularly noticeable, not least because here it was also re-dubbed for the German DVD containing the US version.
No runtime difference
85:56 / 86:40-86:43
When the policeman's wife tries to overpower the terrorist from behind, she grabs her injured shoulder.
A flashback is missing: A similar incident happened the day before.
The end credits are different. By the way, the US version once again features an American rap song.