American Action Films – Page 2

1980s American action movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.

The Challenge

Directed by John Frankenheimer / 1982 / USA – Japan / IMDb

In April 1982, a 3151.34-meter (114.52) print of THE CHALLENGE was passed with an R-rating.

It was awarded for violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

The search for an M-rating

It appears that Roadshow Distributors were seeking a lower classification because, in November 1982, a 2962.44-meter (107.59) ‘reconstructed version’ was submitted. Unfortunately, it too was awarded an R-rating for the same reasons as the original submission.

Finally, in January 1983, a ‘third reconstructed version’ was passed with an M-rating. The 2962.44-meter (107:59) print was the same length as the previous submission.

The classification was awarded for violence, which was described as being:
Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Video release

In 1983, CBS Fox Video issued THE CHALLENGE on tape in a version that ran 109:12 (NTSC). The cover incorrectly lists it with an ‘NRC: Not Recommended for Children’ rating. This tape was reviewed and awarded an M-rating in February 1984.

The Challenge (1982) - VHS videotape 1

In August 1985, Pioneer Electronics had a 108-minute VHS passed with an R-rating.

The elusive extended version

Matt reports.
The CBS/Fox tape of THE CHALLENGE runs 109:12 (NTSC) and appears to be uncut. Interestingly, this is six minutes shorter than the April 1982 submission. Presumably, the footage was removed by the studio for pacing reasons and not because of censorship.

Although I have yet to see any version that goes over 109-minutes, the IMDb does note that the Japanese VHS runs 112-minutes.

Out of Control

Directed by Allan Hollzman / 1985 / USA – Yugoslavia / IMDb

In March 1985, a 2413.00-meter (87:57) print of OUT OF CONTROL was censored by 32-meters (01:10) before being awarded an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove ‘sexual violence’.

Communications and Entertainment Ltd (CEL) was the applicant.

The R-rating was awarded for sex and violence, which were both described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

This censored version went on to have a theatrical release.

Communications and Entertainment Ltd (CEL) had an 83:44 videotape passed in September 1986.

Out of Control (1985) - VHS videotape 1

The R-rating was awarded for sex, which was described as:
Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Australian vs. Dutch VHS

Matt reports.
Video Entertainment (nl) – VHS – 73:16 (PAL)
CEL Video (au) – VHS – 83:46 (PAL)
The Australian videotape is censored in the scene where Tina (Claudia Udy) is raped by bandits.

Before – Tina is dragged from below deck of the boat and one of the bandits holds her face.
Censored at 52:36 by 01:30 approx. – Tina being beaten unconscious by the drug smugglers before one gets on top of her. As he kisses her, she comes around and begins to fight back. Also missing is a shot of Cowboy (Jim Youngs) preparing the spearfishing gun, diving in the water and swimming towards the boat. It is hard to see why this scene was censored as there is no nudity and it is not that graphic.
After – Tina being held from behind around the waist and kicking out before Cowboy shoots the drug smuggler with the speargun.

Despite missing around 01:30, the CEL tape still runs over ten minutes longer. This is because the Video Entertainment (VE) release is the shorter American theatrical version. An uncut print was not available until Code Red released it on Blu-ray in 2017.

Both videotapes have different opening and end credits.
CEL – Opens with shots of the characters and ends with the credits running over the plane flying into the sunset.
VE – Opens with Elliot (Andrew J. Lederer) talking over footage of the characters and ends with the credits running over scenes from the film.

Thou Shalt not Kill… Except

aka Sgt Stryker’s War

Directed by Josh Becker / 1985 / USA / IMDb

In 1986, an 82-minute tape of THOU SHALT NOT KILL…EXCEPT banned because of ‘gratuitous violence’.

Later that year, it was refused again. The title had been changed to SGT STRYKER’S WAR.

In both cases, Showcase Video was the applicant.

The running time of the uncut Dutch tape on the Video for Pleasure label is 82:27 (PAL).

No Dead Heroes

Directed by J.C Miller / 1986 / USA – Philippines / IMDb

In 1987, an 82-minute video of NO DEAD HEROES was banned because of ‘gratuitous sexual violence’.

The applicant, Outland Promotions, were the company behind Vestron Video.

Why was it refused?

Matt reports.
Sony (us) – VHS – 82:58 (NTSC)
Including the Manson International title card.
NO DEAD HEROES is a hugely enjoyable action flick from the 1980s. It starts as a standard Vietnam war RAMBO clone but soon turns into a tale of a microchip controlled killer and a planned worldwide communist revolution. This is all begins with the assassination of the Pope during his visit to El Salvador!

The scene of ‘gratuitous sexual violence’ runs from 71:22 to 74:45.

Several soldiers take Barbara (Toni Nero) to a room; there she is tied face down to a bed. They leave and the leader of the camp climbs on top, tears off her underwear and proceeds to rape her. Eventually, she manages to grab a knife, cut the ropes, throws him off and stab him to death. The scene runs over three minutes, but some minimal cuts to the actual rape should have made it acceptable.

Movie-Censorship has details of the BBFC cuts to the UK tape. They removed 00:58 from the aforementioned rape of Barbara. In addition, they also censored much of the graphic violence.

Hollywood Cop

Directed by Amir Shervan / 1988 / USA / IMDb

In 1988, a 101-minute tape of HOLLYWOOD COP was banned because of ‘gratuitous sexual violence’.

Outland Promotions were awarded an R-rating for a 100-minute tape in June 1988.

Hollywood Cop (1988) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Vestron Video

The censored Australian tape ran 99:56 and was released by Vestron Video.

Australian vs. uncut version

Simon reports.
Vestron Video [au] – VHS – 99:56 (NTSC)
Uncut version – VHS – 100:47 (NTSC)
The Australian version of HOLLYWOOD COP is missing part of a rape scene. An Arab man and his wife are being held in their hotel room by a group of thugs. They tie him to a chair and strip her. Following the attack, the husband breaks free and decapitates one of the rapists with a sword.

Here is the full list of censored scenes. The times refer to the uncut print.

Before – Shot of Arab man tied and gagged with a sword held to his throat.

Censored 11:49 to 12:09 – Two thugs hold his wife on the bed. She struggles as they remove her underwear so that she is fully naked. Another shot of her distressed husband looking on.

After/Before – Turkey (David Goss) and the cops going upstairs.

Censored 12:15 to 12:18 – Shot of the gagged woman’s bloody and bruised face, with one of the thugs on top of her.

After/Before – Turkey and the cops in the corridor.

Censored 12:20 to 12:22 – Face of one of the thugs looking down. We hear the others laughing, and the woman crying.

After/Before – Another shot of the distressed husband. Turkey and a cop outside the door. He knocks, and one of the thugs shouts, ‘What the hell do you want’. Turkey replies, ‘It’s the fucking manager’. Another shot of the husband.

Censored 12:34 to 12:44 – Another shot of the gagged woman struggling. One thug looks on and laughs.

After/Before – One thug looks up as Turkey knocks again. They get dressed and pull their guns.

Censored 13:13 to 13:25 – They run past the naked woman on the bed. She rolls over crying and pulls the cover over herself.

After – One of the thugs peers out of the doorway and shoots the cop in the arm.

The sequence is very similar to the rape of Rosaria scene in DEATH WISH 2 (1982).

L.A. Crackdown 2

Directed by Joseph Merhi / 1988 / USA / IMDb

In 1988, an 87-minute videotape of L.A. CRACKDOWN 2 was Refused Registration.

An 83-minute censored version was passed with an R (Assaultive coarse language, Occasional graphic violence) rating in January 1990. The version that CBS/Fox Video released on tape ran 82:41.

L.A. Crackdown 2 (1988) - VHS videotape 1

The attack on Jamie (Lisa Anderson), at around the 60-minutes, appears to have been censored.

DVD release

Flashback Home Entertainment issued a cheap DVD of L.A. CRACKDOWN 2 in 2002.

L.A. Crackdown 2 (1988) - DVD cover 1
DVD – Flashback

Minus the Troma intro, the print ran 82:35 and would appear to be the same as the CBS/Fox videotape.

Further reading

For more censored Joseph Merhi, see the database entry for NIGHT OF THE WILDING (1990) and PAYBACK (1990).

No Hard Feelings

Directed Charles Norton / 1987 / South Africa – USA / IMDb

In June 1988, an 89:59 ‘edited version’ of NO HARD FEELINGS was passed with an M-rating. It was awarded for:

Frequency: Frequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Frequency: Infrequent
Explicitness/Intensity: Medium
Purpose: Gratuitous

Other: Adult Concepts

The applicant, Palace Entertainment Corporation, was presumably aware that the film risked being banned if submitted uncut.

No Hard Feelings (1988) - VHS videotape 1
VHS – Palace Entertainment

What was censored?

Simon reports.
Palace Entertainment (au) – VHS – 89:59 (PAL)
AIP Studios (us) – VHS– 83:41 (NTSC) as KICK OR DIE

In America, NO HARD FEELINGS was renamed to KICK OR DIE. As well as the new title, over twelve minutes of footage was removed.

The following is missing from the Palace tape. All times refer to the points where these appear in the AIP tape.

The first rape
Before – The rapist makes the man get out of the car and ties his hands behind his back. He then says to the woman, ‘Get out bitch, out, out’.
Censored at 03:24 to 04:07 – The rapist continues to bind the man’s hands. He then pushes him back into the car. The girl screams and he says ‘Don’t fucking move’.
He binds the man’s legs, then grabs the girl, and says, ‘Alright, let’s go. Now it’s your turn bitch’. He pushes her into the back of the car and rips open her top to expose her breasts. He then tears off her underwear and proceeds to rape her. She screams, and he says ‘Shut up bitch’, before punching her.
After – A man making fried tomatoes.

The second rape
Before – A woman runs through a doorway screaming as the rapist chases. He grabs her and tackles her to the ground.
Censored at 26:03 to 26:06 – They roll on the ground until he ends up on top.
After/Before – Don (Kevin Bernhardt) is showing a girl how to defend herself.
Censored at 26:21 to 27:00 – The rapist is on top of the woman. He tears open her top to expose her breasts. We then go to the first of several cutbacks to Don’s class. The rapist is then shown saying to the woman, ‘Look, look at me’.
Back in Don’s class, he says, ‘Remember, know who is around you at all times, and stay out of dark places’.
The final cut back to the rapist shows him getting up off the woman.
After – The rapist disappears through the door, as the woman crawls along the ground.

Eve is captured
Before – Craig (Tim Wallace) sits on top of Eve (Holaday Mason) and says, ‘You’ve turned out to be a bitch just like all the rest’.
Censored at 77:48 to 78:16 – Craig slaps Eve and says ‘Why, why him. Too smart for your own good right. You thought it was a white guy didn’t you. Well, now it’s your turn bitch. Now you’re gonna get yours bitch’.
A horn sounds; Craig looks up and then punches Eve.
After – Alfred walking down the steps.

AIP VHS – The missing footage

Simon reports.
The following scenes are not included in the American AIP Studios VHS. I do not know if all versions titled KICK OR DIE are missing these scenes. They are all present in the Palace Entertainment VHS.

In 1989, a 92:12 version was submitted to the British Board of Film Classification as NO HARD FEELINGS. It was censored down to 91:11, before being awarded an 18-certificate. Presuming that 92:12 is an uncut running time, then converted to NTSC this gives 96:03. Therefore, AIP’s VHS is missing 12:22.

These are the cuts I was able to identify. Unless you enjoy listening to cheesy 1980s music, none of these is any great loss. In my opinion, the film is improved by their removal.

Missing from AIP tape at 29:56 – A 05:03 (PAL) sequence of Don and Eve visiting Craig’s house. Eve is shown recording a song.

Missing from AIP tape at 29:46 – A 05:32 (PAL) sequence of Don and Eve cycling, running and rolling in the grass. This plays out over Eve singing. The scene then shows her recording the song for Craig. It ends with Craig asking to see her and Alfred (Leslie Mongezi) complimenting her singing. She leaves, as Alfred looks on suspiciously. This is such a clunky red herring that you can understand why it was removed.

Missing from AIP tape at 41:53 – A 01:00 (PAL) sequence of Don arriving home to Eve followed by them sitting down for dinner.

Missing from AIP tape at 45:44 – A 00:25 (PAL) sequence of Craig on the phone speaking to his mother.