1990s American action movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
Directed by John Stewart / 1990 / USA / IMDb
In 1991, the OFLC banned a videotape of CARTEL.
A censored version was passed with an R (Medium level violence) rating in January 1992.
Video Distribution Company were the applicant.
Both the cut and uncut versions were listed as running 105-minutes. The actual running time of the VHS released on the Hollywood Studios label was 91:22.
Details of censored footage
Hollywood Studios (au) – VHS – 91:22
Uncut version – VHS – 94:00 (minus Cobra Entertainment Group title card)
CARTEL was banned because of a scene where a gang of thugs raid a house containing the hero’s sister, nephew and girlfriend. There is only a brief moment of sexual violence, but several other scenes were also removed. The distributor probably over-cut the action because they did not want to resubmit it a third time.
Before – Donna (Crystal Carson) runs to the door with Tommy (Bradley Pierce). She opens it and screams.
Censored 29:58 to 30:18 – The lead thug at the door says ‘Hello Donna’. Another thug grabs Tommy. Donna struggles and shouts ‘Tommy, run’. The lead thug slaps her down to the couch, wipes his face and shuts the door.
After – Nancy (Suzee Slater) screams.
Before – Nancy knocks one of the thugs off the bonnet of the car.
Censored 30:29 to 31:20 – Nancy is chased and pulled to the ground. It then cuts to Donna struggling. The lead thug says, ‘I like it when you fight’ before cutting back to Nancy on the floor fighting with the thug. He slaps her around the face. She grabs a knife, stabs him in the side and escapes. She runs past Donna and the lead thug.
After – Nancy runs into the bathroom with her top ripped open.
Before – Donna smashes a vase on the lead thugs head and escapes. He gets up and chases after her.
Censored 31:55 to 31:56 – Brief shot of Nancy’s dress being ripped as she escapes through the door.
After – Continuation of Nancy escaping through the door.
Before – The lead thug shoots Donna in the back and says ‘Bitch’.
Censored 32:19 to 32:29 – Donna lying by the pool. One of the thugs holds Tommy by his feet over her. She grabs his hand as he is dragged away. She says ‘No’.
After – Thug plunges a knife into the door where Nancy is hiding.
Before – The thug is told to kill Tommy.
Censored 34:10 to 34:54 – Nancy rushes forward but is slapped down onto the bed. Tommy cries ‘Mommy’ as he is taken away. The door is closed and a gunshot is heard. The thug comes back into the room holding Tommy’s toy train. Nancy is hysterical as she is held down on the bed by two thugs.
After/Before – Donna is shown alive by the pool.
Censored 35:01 to 35:24 – Nancy is topless on the bed with the lead thug on top of her. He kisses her body and she spits in his face. Angered, he shouts ‘Fucking whore’.
This is the only censored scene that could be considered sexual violence.
After – The thugs walk over the body of Tommy, who opens and closes his eyes, as he pretends to be dead. We now understand that the thug had only made it look like he shot him.
Directed by Addison Randall / 1990 / USA / IMDb
In 1992, an 86-minute videotape of PAYBACK was Refused Classification by the OFLC.
A censored 82-minute version was awarded an M (Medium level violence, Coarse language) rating in February 1992.
The applicant in both cases was Video Distribution Company. It needs to be confirmed if this tape was released.
Gang rape scene behind refusal
85:27 – VHS – Uncut version
At approximately 47:00, the three members of Strikeforce enter the bar and attack Jason’s (Roger Rodd) friend Molly (Charla Driver). They hold her down over the pool table and proceed to take turns to rape her. The whole scene cuts back and forth between this and and a scene of Jason and Evelyn (Denise Dougherty) having sex. The rape ends at approximately 49:30. This would have been the main, and in my opinion, only scene that troubled the OFLC. Any depictions of rape seem to have routinely landed an RC-rating during this period.
There is another scene at 55:30 where Jason comes across a group of thugs pushing a girl around. She is slapped in the face before he proceeds to kick their assess with some very lame martial arts. I cannot believe that the OFLC would have had any problems with this scene.
The producers behind this are Richard Pepin and Joseph Merhi. They were responsible for L.A. CRACKDOWN 2 (1988), and NIGHT OF THE WILDING (1990), two other films that were banned in Australia.
Australian DVD release
In 2005, PAYBACK was released by Flashback Home Entertainment as part of a ten-pack DVD called MOVIE MARATHON TWO.
They later re-released it on a triple pack, along with PRIME TARGET (1991) and THE OUTSIDER (1994).
Despite the cover stating that the disc was R-rated, all three films were previously classified M. It needs to be confirmed if PAYBACK was the uncut version.
Fugitive X: Innocent Target
Directed by David Heavener / 1996 / USA / IMDb
In July 1996, a 98-minute VHS of FUGITIVE X: INNOCENT TARGET was Refused Classification by the OFLC.
The applicant was Peacock Films.
No clues to why this was banned
The print of FUGITIVE X: INNOCENT TARGET that I viewed came from a US cable TV screening and ran only 94:17. I have no idea why the OFLC banned it is just a cheap action flick with a ‘most dangerous game’ plot.
This version should be MA15+. However, the running time was around four minutes shorter than the print the OFLC banned in 1996. I can only presume this was missing scenes of sexual violence.
At 13:15, Eddie the pimp (Kevin Christopher Lokey) slaps Alicia (Jennifer Moe) and threatens her. This plot point turns out to be a set-up to trap Adam (David Heavener). I cannot believe this scene would have been the issue.
Directed by George Saunders / 1996 / USA / IMDb
In June 1996, an 88-minute VHS of VENDETTA was Refused Classification by the OFLC.
The applicant was Peacock Films.
Around 2001, Flashback Home Entertainment released VENDETTA on DVD in Australia.
This disc ran 85:11, three minutes shorter than the tape that was banned in 1996.
This print does not appear to contain anything that would trouble the censors. This is just as well because the R-rating on the cover would appear to be fake.