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To Live and Die in L.A

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Road to Revenge

original title: Champagne & Bullets


  • Geteven Version
  • Original Version
Release: Aug 17, 2021 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Champagne & Bullets

During an undercover operation against a gang of drug dealers, the two policemen Rick and Huck are betrayed by their superior Normad. Since the operation fails, Normad makes sure that Rick and Huck are suspended from the police service. Years pass. Rick meanwhile works as a limousine driver and Huck increasingly loses control over his life. In a bar, Rick meets his ex-girlfriend Cindy, who falls in love with him again just as Rick is singing a song on stage. But there is a dark chapter in Cindy's past. After her breakup with Rick, she sought refuge with a group of devil worshippers led by Normad. Cindy has turned away from evil, but the satanists are trying to kidnap her. Now it's up to Rick to protect Cindy and get even with Normad.

Road to Revenge is the sole directorial effort of John De Hart, who also wrote the screenplay, produced the film, starred in it and contributed much of the soundtrack. Far from an Orson Wells genius, Road to Revenge fails in pretty much every way, but ranks effortlessly alongside action duds like Samurai Cop or Savage Harbour. At times, one feels reminded of Tommy Wiseau's The Room, which has a similar vibe; the plot is curiously lousy, occasionally erratic, devoid of meaning. The acting performances are sub-par with countless unintentionally funny scenes. My highlight is the scene in which Cindy wants to pick up her things from her strict religious parents together with Rick, but the whole thing quickly turns into a family crisis with a discussion about drug abuse and devil worshipping. The German version tries hard to play the charming guy the script calls for, but fails to do so in pretty much every scene. His country performance of the shimmy slide song garnered attention from trash fans.

Curious are some actors who in themselves know what they should be doing. Rick's partner is played by Wings Hauser, who gives the dorky ex-cop. The antagonist is William Smith, who has a long film career to look back on. Ex-Playmate Pamela Jean Bryant plays the love interest Cindy including debauched sex scenes with De Hart. In a completely mundane supporting role is Lisa Boyle, who plays Rick's ex-wife and has also become a member of the devil worshippers. I can only strongly urge any B-movie / trash fan to check out Road to Revenge. It's an absolutely delightful film from start to finish, and it's hard to put into words what it's like to watch it.

Three versions on the US BD

The film was shot in 1993 as Champagne & Bullets. Everyone should try to decipher how much sense this title makes, at least Rick always drinks champagne before he jumps into bed with Cindy and every now and then they shoot. When the film did not find a distributor, it was recut by De Hart and was released on video as Road to Revenge. The version is heavily cut in plot and in a few violent scenes and got a new soundtrack. In addition, all sex scenes were removed, including any flirtation between Rick and Cindy, the rape in the bar and the scene in which Alex is punished by Normad. To make the film snappier, many shots were shortened by a few seconds. The Road to Revenge inserts a scene transition at some points where the scene is changed, usually with a building to make the change clear.

In 2006, another version of De Hart followed for the video market under the title Geteven. This represents the best known version and is also De Hart's preferred cut. Much of the adaptations of the Road to Revenge version are also present here, though the sex and violence scenes have been repackaged into the film. However, the punishment of Alex and the end of the rape in the bar are also missing here. The sex scene in the pool between Rick and Cindy was cut down to a reasonable level for the Geteven. In the original version, this has a considerable length of a solid five minutes, which raises the question of whether De Hart had any aspirations to move into the soft sex genre. The Geteven contains two scenes shot much later in which Rick trains his martial arts and then feeds his poodle. Right at the beginning, the Geteven version shows some shots of Hollywood Boulevard while the titles are faded in, furthermore, compared to the Road to Revenge version, the buildings were exchanged at some scene transitions.

As a conclusion, we can say that you should definitely go for the original version, which brings out the full madness of the film. The Geteven version is better edited from a technical point of view, but we are deprived of the absurdly long pool sex scenes and the rape and punishment of Alex is missing. The Road to Revenge version focuses fully on the action elements of the film, with a few additional spikes of violence removed. This might be good for a cozy family night, but it's significantly less fun than the other two versions.

The US Blu-ray of Vinegar Syndrome features all three versions of the film. The original version has been painstakingly restored and looks excellent, while the Road to Revenge and Geteven versions are only in VHS quality. This is due to the fact that both of these versions were edited on video and therefore there is simply no better footage available. The bonus material includes an audio commentary and an audio interview with De Hart. A highly recommended release.

Picture comparison:


Champagne and Bullets:


Geteven: 89:30 min.
Champagne and Bullets: 98:59 min.

Comparison between the Geteven version and the Champagne and Bullets original version.

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The Geteven version shows various Hollywood street scenes while the titles fade in.

In the original version, at the beginning, the titles scroll from the bottom to the top. After that, you see the cops a little earlier.

GEV: 1:56 min.
CAB: 46 sec.


The original version shows longer as the gangster is hit.

CAB: 1 sec.


Rick can be seen for a longer time. He takes cover behind the tree.

CAB: 1 sec.


The Geteven version once again shows Huck firing at the gangsters.

In the original version, the gangster continues to fall out of the trailer.

GEV: 2 sec.
CAB: 1 sec.


After Huck is hit, Rick shoots at the gangsters in the Geteven version.

The original version shows an alternate shot of this in which he looks a bit more awkward.

GEV: 1 sec.
CAB: 2 sec.


Again, an alternate shot of Rick firing at the gangsters.



GEV: 1 sec.
CAB: 2 sec.


Huck is calling out to Nomad, saying that he's been hit hard. In the next shot, Nomad is seen earlier.

CAB: 7 sec.


The Geteven version now shows the scene of Huck described earlier here.

The original version continues to show Nomad shouting "goddamit".

GEV: 5 sec.
CAB: 3 sec.


In the Geteven version, Nomad gets kicked in the stomach by Rick.

The original version shows a different shot of this.

GEV: 2 sec.
CAB: 2 sec.


After Nomad said that Huck made a mistake, the Geteven version shows Rick.

After that, Rick is seen practicing kung fu in the evening.

In the next scene, he feeds his dog.

Finally, a courthouse can be seen.

The original version immediately fades to the judge.

GEV: 1:18 min.
CAB: 5 sec.


The Geteven version cuts to Rick and Huck and then Nomad while the judge reads his charge.

The original version shows an alternate shot of Rick and Huck.

GEV: 4 sec.
CAB: 4 sec.


In the original version, Nomad reports to the judge that he has been pursuing Huck and Rick on his own to prove them guilty of a drug crime. He reports that he tracked them to a donut store. There, the two are said to have met with a known drug dealer. In the next shot, the judge is seen earlier.

CAB: 1:42 min.


When Nomad says the "leafy substance", you see him longer in the original version. The Geteven version just put his partial sentence over the next scene.

CAB: 1 sec.


The Geteven version cuts briefly to the judge as he tells Huck to sit down.

The original version continues to show Huck. The judge goes on to say that Huck will have to leave the hearing if he doesn't sit down.

GEV: 1 sec.
CAB: 3 sec.


In the original version, Huck is seen earlier before he stands up.

CAB: 1 sec.


The Geteven fades from Nomad to Rick's house, then to the scene at the shooting range.

In the original version Nomad is seen longer, the next scene on the shooting range starts earlier.

GEV: 5 secs.
CAB: 4 sec.


Geteven version shows some scenes of the city at night.

The original version shows the limo. The teenagers throw a bottle out of the car and Rick says they should calm down. They tell him to just drive. One of the women takes off her bra and throws it forward.

GEV: 10 sec.
CAB: 29 sec.


The Geteven version is missing a cut to the teens and then to Rick.

CAB: 7 secs.


The original shot shows the teens running into the bushes after they get off. The next shot starts earlier.

CAB: 10 sec.


Rick is seen in the car longer before he drives off. Afterwards, the teens are seen coming out of the bushes as Rick drives off.

CAB: 6 secs.


Geteven version fades to exterior shot of Huck's house.

The original version shows the teens longer, then Huck earlier doing the ironing.

GEV: 6 sec.
CAB: 8 sec.


Geteven version fades from Rick and Huck to the bar.

In the original version, Cindy and her mother are seen earlier. She is happy to be back home. Cindy says she's staying with Cherry for now.

GEV: 6 sec.
CAB: 13 sec.
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