After hearing the news yesterday about Warner Bros. finally releasing The Snyder Cut of Justice League it got me thinking about other director’s cuts I’d love to see – John Woo’s totally uncut vision for Hard Target would be top of my list. I’ve seen the workprint version and there is a lot that was removed from the final film in order for it to get an R-rating and I did a piece a few years ago where I go into details about what was cut but I’ll just post them below:
One scene which I think should have been kept was the love scene between Chance and Nat. Although it would have slowed the pacing down, it provides us some backstory to both characters and makes their relationship more believable. We discover (unsurprisingly) that Chance is an orphan and how he lost his sailor’s license. The pair eventually kiss in a nicely done scene where Nat walks out… then comes back in saying she changed her mind.
As discussed before there are a few extra scenes of violence that were cut but not as many as I expected. I’ve always been more familiar with the UK/European version which didn’t trim too much in terms of blood. I think the one scene which really stood out is the scene of Randal Poe getting his ear cut off with scissors.
In the theatrically released version, the camera cuts way and we simply hear Poe scream but in the workprint you see the scissors cutting right through the ear. It’s kinda awesome but understandable why they cut it as it was always a rather tough scene to watch. I want to put on the record that I always felt bad for Poe; he really goes through a crap time in this movie; getting beat up, cut up and eventually shot in the face with a shotgun.
When I spoke to Lance a few months ago I asked him if there was any footage cut that he regretted; he mentioned a scene where Fouchon is playing the piano and fantasising about hunting in Africa. Although it doesn’t add much to the story, we see this very scene in the workprint and all it demonstrates is that Fouchon lives for the hunt; there is nothing else for him.
There are a few more moments with Pik van Cleef (Arnold Vosloo) where he shows more tracking skills and also a few more jibes between him and Fouchon. I love Vosloo in this movie; Pik is such a sadistic bastard that you really count down until his blood-soaked demise.
Speaking of blood-soaked demises; I’m pretty sure every bad guy is shot about an extra 50 times in this version, with more blood squibs used in one scene than most movies used in their entire run time.
Fouchon’s death scene is different and I actually prefer the theatrical version; in this version he is shot and Van Damme kicks him, and then throws a grenade at him. In the theatrical version Chance drops the grenade down Fouchon’s trousers; Fouchon picks up the grenade thinking he’s put the pin back in and laughs… then it explodes. It just works better dramatically as he dies too quickly in the workprint.
When Chance is given his gun from Duvet, he stares at it and then we get quick flashes of everyone Fouchon and his goons have killed. It’s an interesting moment as it shows that Chance knows what he has to do to stop these men from hurting anyone else.
There are several scenes which definitely deserved to be removed; one between Chance and Duvet dancing and singing when they first see each other was cringe worthy and definitely needed to be left on the editing floor.
There were also a few poor lines of dialogue and of the weakest was from Fouchon (Lance Henriksen) where he says “You guys are as dumb as a bag of hammers”… err OK. So it’s not like everything that was cut NEEDED to stay in the film.
There are a few extra lines from Duvet as well which were rightly edited as he’s not interesting enough a character to warrant more scenes.
The conversation between Nat and her father’s landlady is a little different but really added nothing so it was rightly trimmed too.
So yeah, Hard Target is definitely at the top and number 2? Cobra with Sylvester Stallone; although I still adore the movie I would love to see it as it was originally envisioned. I did an article on that too a few years ago but you can check out details on what was cut below. I won’t take credit for writing this next part as it was done by Jack Craven on www.worldwidedvdofurms.com.
There are no opening credits and red color in the beginning, but opening montage is still shown.
Opening shootout is longer, lots of extra shots of customers are shown.
Extra dialogue scene between Cobra and Tony.
Extended dialogue scene between Cobra and Mexican low riders plus scene is edited differently, Cobra checks his mailbox, talks briefly to the old janitor and walks next to a woman walking her dog in the hall.
Scene where Nightslasher kills first victim has few extra shots of victim’s dead body, and entire scene is not shown in slow motion like in DVD version. Slow motion was probably added later when scene was cut since music is same in both versions.
After the first murder, small Asian kid brings a box in some police station, and when one of the cops asks him who gave it to him, kid says that it was some men outside. Same cop tells the kid to get himself one of the toys from some other box on the other side of the room. While he is checking the box that kid brought, cop sees blood dripping under the box. Then Nightslasher calls and tells the cop “Her hands are with you, her soul is in another world.” Cop tells some other cop to trace the call and then scene cuts to the morgue scene with Cobra and others.
Autopsy scene (where Cobra says that he wants to be involved in case) is extended with few extra shots and some more dialogue.
Second Nightslasher murder scene also has few extra shots of dead body, but due to the picture quality not much is seen actually.
Small extended bits with Cobra in his apartment, waiting for call from police chief and later he and Tony, his partner arrive on meeting with chief and Monte. “Skyline” track from official soundtrack is heard during this scene. This track is not anywhere in theatrical version.
There are couple of extra dialogue scenes with Ingrid and Dan (her photographer) right before her photo shoot.
“Angel Of The City” montage scene is extended. There are more scenes of Cobra and Tony walking around the city and several shots of gang members at their day jobs.
Dan’s death scene is extended. He is hit more times with axe.
Guy with glasses during parking garage attack is also hit more times with axe. It appears that final hit gets him in the head while he is on ground, although his death scene is more implied than shown.
Conversation between Nightslasher and Stalk where she tells him how Cobra is after them and that he is “very dangerous”, but Slasher simply says that they will take care of him. This deleted scene explains why did the gang attack Cobra at his place and how did they know where to find him.
There are few more small scenes in Nightslasher’s place where he is practicing with his knife. Part of this scene can be seen in one of the theatrical trailers.
Attack on Cobra’s place is longer and more violent. Sniper guy from the gang arrives in his car, gang member in the street looks at apartment and puts his mask on, two gang members are shown climbing up the stairs and cutting the light off while sniper guy is looking from his car. There is longer (only few seconds) death scene of first guy that gets shot, and right when he goes towards the stairs Cobra is attacked by third gang member (in DVD version he is last seen lying on ground). At the same time, sniper guy from the gang who was waiting for others in his car drives away after he saw other gang member falling from stairs when Cobra shot him. Cobra manages to defend himself and he kills last gang member with his bare hands. Scene is quite brutal, considering that you can see blood going from his mask. Also, music is same like in the DVD cut, but much louder.
While most of this scene is used in TV cut, death scene of final gang member is not shown.
Janitor’s death scene is longer, but only for about 2 or 3 seconds.
There is additional murder scene in hospital. Nightslasher stalks and kills same cop who was talking with nurse who also gets murdered by Slasher just minutes after. This deleted scene fixes continuity mistake from theatrical version of the movie in which same cop is seen talking with nurse and later he is no longer mentioned by other characters.
More shots of Cobra driving fast towards hospital.
Dialogue scene between Cobra and other cops is extended.
Car chase is longer, explosion of the first car on the road is longer, and Nightslashers car is first one that crashes in boat, and then Cobra’s car crashes while Nightslasher and sniper guy escape. You can actually see in theatrical version, right when Cobra’s car crashes into the boat, that he actually crashes into the Nightslasher’s car. Also, Cobra and Ingrid are walking away from crashed cars little longer until they stop.
Second dialogue scene between Cobra and other cops is also extended.
Gang members perform some strange ritual before they start to follow Cobra and others. Ritual ends with some of them breaking the mirror with their weapons. One of the trailers for the movie (one with “Feel The Heat” song playing in the background) actually shows small part of this scene and couple parts of the other deleted scene where Nightslasher practices with his knife.
“Feel The Heat” montage scene is longer with extra dialogue between Cobra and Ingrid.
There is some extended dialogue scenes between Stalk and Gonzales.
There are lot more shots of gang members following Cobra and others, also this part of the workprint is edited differently than the theatrical cut.
Town attack scene is much longer and gorier with many additional murder scenes. One scene that is worth mentioning is when motel owner is watching Hitchcock’s DIAL M FOR MURDER and in the scene where Swann starts to strangle Margot, motel owner gets strangled with barb wire.
During the motel shootout and pick-up truck chase more explicit close-ups of bullet hits and holes are shown, plus several more gang members are shot by Cobra. Uncut version of this scene is actually more accurate than theatrical version where lot of continuity mistakes are present due to the cuts.
Pick-up truck chase and shootout scene is also longer. Theatrical version of this scene has some continuity mistakes due to the cuts made either by studio or MPAA. Notice broken window on the left side of the pick-up: there was a small part cut where one of the bikers smashes the window with meat cleaver. One TV trailer shows this scene.
Factory shootout has additional action scene where Cobra is running through the orchard while being shot at by sniper. Two scenes where gang members are burning alive are little longer. Nightslasher’s death scene has several close-ups of his wound intercut with Cobra pushing him onto the hook and also while he is burning he screams. It’s possible that this scene was cut because it was too intense or too real looking.
Extended ending where Cobra and Ingrid exchange few words with three cops armed with shotguns. Later when they both get on motorbike they ride through the locations where chase and shootout took place.
Final credits are not shown in the ending of the workprint.
Ending music in the workprint is Sylvester Levay’s “Skyline” from original soundtrack release. It’s possible that when scene was cut for theatrical release original music didn’t fit well, or somebody, maybe even Stallone himself, wanted for movie to end with song “Voice Of America’s Sons” that was used for music video about the movie.
I nearly forgot to mention Cliffhanger which also has a more violent workprint but it is practically unwatchable. Jack Craven from Worldwide DVD Forums provided details on what was cut from that below:
There is a longer death of the first agent that Travers shoots on the plane.
When Travers shoots the second agent in the head blood and brain matter is shown splattering on the wall behind the agent.
Alternate angle is used in the death scene of the first pilot who gets shot in the head by the other pilot. Blood is shown splattering on the window and although it’s hard to see due to the poor quality of the workprint it looks like chunks of brain are also mixed with blood.
Little longer death of the corrupt pilot; he is shot more times in slow-mo and bullet holes are shown appearing on his back.
Longer death of Brett. Bullets are shown hitting him in back and exiting out of his chest in slow-mo.
In the workprint when Travers screams at Kynette to shoot at Evan, Kynette gives the gun to him and Travers shoots Evan who is still flying in his parachute and manages to hit him in shoulder. Although this scene was cut, in the theatrical version blood is shown on Evan’s shoulder when Frank finds him later.
While he is beating up Gabe, in the workprint version Kynette asks him one more time where is the money, in the theatrical version he only asks him twice which causes a continuity mistake because he told Gabe that he’s gonna ask him just three times. When Jessie tries to help Gabe, Kynette hits her and then goes towards Gabe to kill him like in the theatrical version but Gabe grabs him, lifts him and impales him on stalagmite. His death scene is also a little longer in the workprint.
Frank is shot more times by Delmar. He only gets shot two times in the theatrical version but in the workprint he gets shot four more times and a couple of bullets are shown exiting out of his back.
Kristel is shown getting shot by Qualen three times onscreen. In theatrical version only first shot is shown. * A note from me: on the Blu-ray version I have, she gets shot three times.
Delmar kicks Hal one more time in the workprint and then asks him; “Tell me, how are we feeling so far?” In the theatrical version the scene is cut down and Delmar says; “Tell me, do you like soccer?”
When Hal shoots Delmar with the shotgun, a different angle is used showing blood spurting out behind him and a bloody hole on his chest. Also he is shown hitting the rock when he is falling down. If you look at his death in theatrical version he doesn’t have a bullet hole on him when he falls off the mountain.
As I mentioned above in the theatrical version, Gabe shoots Travers three times with his piton gun and Travers falls in water. In the workprint, Gabe shoots Travers one time and then tries to get out of the water and while wounded Travers gets up and says “I…won…Walker!” He is about to shoot Gabe but Hal shows up and shoots Travers three time with a shotgun and then Travers falls into the water. This scene is actually not an MPAA cut; the Film-makers decided to change his death so Gabe is the only one who kills him in the theatrical version but in the workprint he and Hal both kill Travers.
The final fight between Gabe and Qualen is cut. It’s hard to see but I think that Qualen hits Gabe more times in the kidney. After he hits Qualen a few times in the face Gabe again tries to climb away but Qualen grabs him again but Gabe manages to break his right arm and grabs him by the throat. Qualen falls down and then Gabe kicks him back inside the crashed helicopter and jumps off of it while helicopter with Qualen in it falls down and explodes.
In the workprint, when he realizes that Gabe has tricked him and put the tracker on the rabbit, enraged Travers shoots and kills the rabbit. Preview audience didn’t like this scene so Sylvester Stallone invested 100.000 dollars of his own money to have the scene re-shot so that the rabbit escapes. But the uncut scene is not that graphic although it’s hard to see it due to the poor quality of workprint so I’m not sure about it.
The Theatrical trailer shows two action scenes which were deleted from the final cut but are in the workprint;
1. After he survived the avalanche Gabe climbs across frozen waterfalls and barely manages to get on top. According to director Renny Harlin this scene was cut because effects looked too fake and because they didn’t want to show Stallone’s character Gabe as another Rambo.
2. After the bridge connecting the two mountains is destroyed, Gabe does a running jump and manages to land on the wall of other mountain. Preview audience laughed when they saw this scene because they thought it was impossible so it was deleted.
So those are three action movies which I would love to see get a 4K remaster and director’s cut; will it happen? Not likely. #releasethewoocut