Comparison between the export version on the US-VHS by Xenon Pictures and the uncut German DVD by Schröder Media
Also 9 master errors in the German DVD with a duration of 16 sec
A few additional master errors with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the report.
Background to HELL'Z WINDSTAFF
In 1979, Hell'z Windstaff was probably one of the best of the many humorous brawlers shot in Hong Kong during this period. Obviously, in the wake of successes like Jackie Chan's Drunken Master, there are also lots of curious training scenes in the countryside, in which the rather less known warriors Meng Yuen-Man and Mang Hoi demonstrate their undoubtedly existing skills. The secret star of the movie is of course Hwang Jang Lee, who can show off his footwork in several extended brawls. Shaw Brothers veteran Jason Pai Piao also stops by and with Corey Yuen (The Legend) four more stunt coordinators take care of the polished fight scenes. A flippant German synchro with lots of well-known voices completes the whole thing for fans in this country.
As with so many cheap productions from that time, there is the problem of poor availability and no uncut release has been known so far. The German VHS should correspond to the local theatrical release and is shortened by about 7.5 minutes. But this is only partly due to the distributor in this country, because at least 5 minutes of it have been cut identically on the US VHS and thus probably also on other foreign releases. Therefore, one can probably speak of an export version, which has been tightened a little bit more in Germany. In Great Britain, a DVD was released in the original audio version with burned-in subtitles, which in principle is based on the original version - but on the one hand is shorter due to various errors in the original version and on the other hand was censored in an animal scene and violence in the final thanks to BBFC guidelines.
The German DVD and the cuts of the British version
The German DVD premiere is now available in the Asia Line series starting on April 02, 2020 and once again, a virtually uncut long version has been reconstructed resp. the film has been patched together for the longest possible version. A purely German cut version was also added as a bonus.
Unfortunately, it was no longer possible to find a cinema reel. For the long version, they took the clearly best looking master of the British DVD as a basis and took the trouble to only zoom in on the shots with burned-in subtitles throughout the whole film. Thus, the film runs continuously in 2,35:1, the fighting scenes are to be seen in full splendour and only at dialogue points some image information gets lost. But without knowing about it, this is basically not noticeable. The parts censored in the British master were integrated by the German VHS, which also came along in scope format.
Concerning the cuts of the export version, it has to be pointed out that mainly dialogues have been removed, which oftentimes just unnecessarily lengthened the scenes without really bringing the plot forward in a big way. Especially in the first third a lot was tightened, partly only short parts. As it is often the case, they obviously wanted to get to the action scenes faster. All in all, it's still a usable version of the movie, but in terms of quality alone you're better off with the German DVD anyway.
The German VHS is additionally cut in 5 places with a duration of 166.7 sec (= 2:47 min), whereby two of them are within the range of scenes already missing on the US VHS. Compared to the US-VHS, the German VHS has 4 scenes (18.8 sec) less shortened.
Runtimes are ordered as follows: US VHS in NTSC / German DVD in PAL
Additional company note at the beginning of the British DVD.
For the credits afterwards, the title fade in differs and some of the texts on the DVD are in the Chinese original, while the US-VHS is in English throughout.
02:06 / 02:26-03:31
Directly after the opening credits there is a sequence missing at first, in which Master Wang justifies his decision a bit and thinks that money isn't a problem. Someone is looking for Shia.
After that, Tiger's hunt for the chickens starts much earlier. After a turn on the ground, the export version then starts with the end of the shot respectively two more jumps.
64.7 sec (= 1:05 min)
04:39 / 06:00-06:11
At the end of the side shot, some entertainment is missing. The follow-up shot starts a little earlier.
Note: On the German VHS, a little bit more is missing here, respectively also the complete beginning of the scene in the woods.
06:42 / 08:09-08:26
After driving onto the sign, Ching takes a few more steps and gets people excited about his game.
US VHS longer
07:18-07:19 / 09:01
When the challenger is given the stick, the UK master has a little jumpcut.
+ 1 sec
US VHS longer
08:52-08:54 / 10:30
DVD master error: Ching looks over to the older challenger a little longer.
+ 1.7 sec
13:15 / 14:40-15:07
Master Wang greets in the long shot at the end and Ching also gives his name. He would teach Tiger and accept only wine with every meal instead of payment.
Alternative / US VHS longer
18:59-19:06 / 20:37-21:36
Reel change in the UK master: Tiger a little longer in the export version and then two shots of Ching and Tiger, which are not available on the UK DVD.
On the DVD, there is instead first some discussion, where Tiger wants to take the food away from Ching.
UK DVD 53.7 sec longer
US VHS longer
28:09-28:12 / 30:19
Reel change: Master Wang in an additional shot - on the DVD, only a short moment of this shot has been preserved. Then another jumpcut and the follow-up shot also starts a little later after a few steps forward.
+ 2.6 sec
28:47 / 30:52-33:06
A longer additional scene, in which Lu first talks to his men and then causes an uproar in the village earlier. When the brawl starts, the export version sets in shortly afterwards.
133.7 sec (= 2:14 min)
29:24 / 33:41-33:43
For the transition to the following scene in the restaurant there is actually an outside view of it.
31:28 / 35:42-36:02
A little more discussion with the playing fisherman.
US VHS longer
34:37-34:38 / 39:03
The guy under the table insignificantly longer and the follow-up shot of Tiger marginally earlier.
Note: With the German VHS only the first shot is longer, then also here a master error. The ~ 0.3 sec more at the beginning of the follow-up shot of Tiger thus US VHS-exclusive.
+ 0.8 sec
44:55 / 48:53-48:52
Some fight is missing before a blow to the back with a stick.
45:09 / 49:15-49:22
Tiger hits the henchman longer, Ching comes in and tries to calm him down.
US VHS longer
46:16-46:20 / 50:27-50:29
Several jumpcuts during a shot of our three heroes and when Lu then attacks.
+ 1.8 sec