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The Hunted


  • Theatrical Cut
  • Workprint
Release: Sep 27, 2020 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Asphyxia - external link: IMDB
This is a comparison between the theatrical cut and the workprint version. Both versions can be found on the US Blu-ray by Shout Factory.

The businessman Paul Racine meets the mysterious Kirina at a hotel bar in Nagoya, with whom he spends the evening in her hotel room. By chance, Paul sees Kirina being killed by the ninja Kinjo. He himself is seriously injured. When he regains consciousness at the hospital, he discovers that he is on the death list of the Makato clan which was responsible for the attack. He gets help from the samurai Takeda and his wife Mieko. The couple try to get Paul to safety in a remote castle but Kinjo and his followers start a relentless campaign to kill Paul.

J.F. Lawton, the screenwriter of Pretty Woman and Under Siege, got the chance to make his mainstream film debut with The Hunted. With a budget of 25 million US dollars, Christopher Lambert got the chance to act as an involuntary hero in Japan, who confronts a murderous ninja clan. The reviews were mixed, but fortunately we can rely on the encyclopedia of international film, which aptly describes the film as repulsive and full of blood-soaked massacres. Indeed, the movie is a manhunt thriller with several bloody scenes, which was pretty cleverly embedded into a Japanese scenario. From Paul's confusion in a Pachinko hall, to the massacre in a Shinkansen, to the finale in the shadow of the castle, various Japanese cultural and traditional elements are addressed.

The US Blu-ray by Shout Factory features two versions of the film. On the one hand, the regular uncut theatrical version and on the other hand a workprint version with significantly worse picture quality, but with various changes. There are a lot of small changes, which are mainly of a cosmetic nature. Some scenes have been shortened, lengthened or recut to make them work a bit better. Alternative adjustments were also used in many places. The central differences can be summarized as follows:

  • In an additional scene you can see Paul's colleague being murdered by the ninjas.

  • After his failure in the workprint, Kinjo gives the ninja another chance to kill Paul in the Shinkansen after he tortured him. This explains the scars on the ninja's face.

  • The role of Kirina is different. In the theatrical version she appears several times in Paul's visions to support him. These scenes are missing in the workprint. In the workprint version, Kinjo is haunted by her spirit.

  • When Paul reaches for his gun and shoots the ninja, he seems very insecure in the workprint and almost a bit scared. Quite understandable when you shoot a person with a gun for the first time. In the theatrical version, on the other hand, he appears cooler.

  • At the castle the workprint version has some new scenes. A dispute breaks out between Takeda and his wife Mieko. Mieko is unsure of her role and enters a hot pool together with Paul. The two kiss but Mieko backs down and says that she has to stand by her husband. In general, Takeda seems more grim towards his wife. After the training camp with Paul he even slaps her in the face. When Paul is trapped, he tells Mieko that he loves her. The love relationship that developed between Mieko and Paul was completely removed in the theatrical version.

  • The finale and the end of the movie are completely different. In the workprint version Takeda defends the two ninjas who attack him without Mieko's help. In the following fight with Kinjo, Takeda is defeated after only one sword strike. He recognizes his defeat and commits suicide. In the following fight with Paul, Kinjo makes fun of his inability to fight. When he wants to kill him, Kirina appears to him in a vision. Paul uses the moment and manages to injure Kinjo. As the fight progresses, Kinjo's sword breaks (with Kirina's help from the spirit realm). Kinjo is defeated but remains alive. Paul and Mieko kiss at the end.

The workprint version changes the mood of the film in many places. The end of the workprint is more oriented towards the Japanese spirit, while the theatrical version is simply more action packed with a distinct finale in which the villain is judged. Oshima reappears in the theatrical version at the end in a classic way, providing a final laugh/feel good moment, while the workprint' s end is more focuses on the love between Paul and Mieko. It's not outlandish to consider the workprint to be the better version of the film, as it seems a bit more complex and less adapted to the needs of the mainstream audiences.

If you're interested in the movie now, you can consider buying the US Blu-ray by Shout Factory without hesitation. The picture quality of the main version is very good. Apart from the workprint, the bonus material also contains further deleted scenes and a Behind the Scenes special, which gives an insight into the film shoot. The Blu-ray, however, is region A locked.


Theatrical Cut: 110:09 min. (subsequently titled TC)
Workprint: 123:49 min. (subsequently titled WP)
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The workprint starts with a information text at the beginning.

WP: 6 sec.


The two versions differ directly after the Universal logo.

The theatrical version begins with a quote about the essence of the Samurai.

The opening credits show the title insertions, which are interrupted by scenes from a Japanese painting.

The camera moves over Nagoya while the movie title and other names are displayed.

Then you see Paul, John and another colleague who just arrived. In the car they talk about ordering a geisha into their hotel room.

The workprint starts directly with the title insertions against a black background. Then the camera moves over Nagoya earlier.

TC: 2:13 min.
WP: 48 sec.

2:35 - 1:18


After the men are in the hotel, the TC cuts into the lobby.

The WP shows longer how the men go to the hotel.

John talks about going up to his room to have fun with a geisha. He tries to convince his colleagues to join him but they refuse. His colleague tries to convince him to listen to a live concert but Paul prefers to have a drink at the bar. He cannot yet leave behind an event from the past.

TC: 5 sec.
WP: 1:36 min.


The TC shows John taking the glass-stick out of his drink. Earlier, you could see him sitting on his seat a bit longer.

The TC quickly cuts towards the woman next to him at the bar.

TC: 3 sec.
WP: 2 sec.


The WP cuts one more time on the dancer after the performance is over.

WP: 2 sec.


The TC shows Paul a bit longer after he had to lower his pants.

TC: 2 sec.


The sex scene between Paul and Kirina has a different editing.

In the TC you can see Kirina from behind as she climbs into the bathtub. John climbs into the bathtub and the two indulge in physical love. Between some scenes there's some fading-in's and some slowing down of the scene.

The WP continues to show Kirina from the front as she climbs into the tub. John joins her and the two have sex in the tub. The WP shows alternative footage without blending.

TC: 1:12 min.
WP: 1:18 min.


The theatrical version fades over to Kirina's face earlier.

TC: 7 sec.
WP: 6 sec.


In the theatrical version, the assassin says that no one has ever seen his face before. He is known for his reputation.

The workprint shows how the elevator moves down. Paul is grinning.

Kirina tells the assassin that he is not Japanese. He claims that he was born in Kyoto and that his mother is Chinese. Kirina says a half-breed was sent to kill a half-breed. The assassin says no one has seen his face before. He is known for his reputation.

TC: 10 sec.
WP: 32 sec.


Kirina can be seen in the TC a bit longer after she said that she wants to die slowly.

TC: 1 sec.


Again, Kirina is seen longer after she mentions that her assassin is a slave.

TC: 1 sec.


In the flashback after Kirina and Paul were seen in the bathtub, the WP once again shows the red coloured fluid.

WP: 1 sec.


Flashback again, you see Paul and Kirina on the balcony and again the red colored fluid.

WP: 2 sec.


The camera adjustment of Kirina, when she is hit by the sword, is mirror-inverted in the WP.

No time difference.


The scene in which the assassin turns around was slowed down for the TC.

TC: 1 sec.
WP: 0.5 sec.


After Kirina has fallen over, the red colour can be seen again.

WP: 1 sec.


The theatrical version shows Kirina shaking her head. Behind her the red fluid.

The WP cuts on the red fluid, then on Kirina shaking her head (this time without the red fluid in the background), then again on the red fluid.

TC: 5 sec.
WP: 10 sec.


Paul can be seen longer in the TC at the end of the flashback.

TC: 1 sec.


The shuriken can be seen longer on the operating table in the TC.

In a school, lessons are given in sword fighting. Dr. Yamura enters the room and is welcomed by Mrs. Takeda. He asks for her husband, but he is teaching. After he has finished his lesson, Yamura shows him a drawing of the shuriken Paul was injured with. Takeda recognizes the weapon as a Makato shuriken and asks when the man died. When Yamura answers him that he is still alive, Takeda is astonished and thinks that Kinjo has finally made a mistake.

TC: 2:08 min.


Before Paul wakes up, he dreams of Kirina coming to his bedside and kissing him. The assassin approaches from behind and strikes with his sword.

TC: 43 sec.


Yamura adds that they find a way to get Paul past the police cars.

WP: 4 sec.


Paul adds that he trusts the police more.

WP: 4 sec.


After the Takedas have left, one sees Paul again in the TC, who puts the note aside.

TC: 8 sec.
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