Master of the Flying Guillotine

"Excellent"

Master of the Flying Guillotine Review


Attention all die-hard martial arts-movie fanatics. My eyes have seen the glory of the deadly flying guillotine and the fury of the One-Armed Boxer in the grand restoration of the pinnacle of 1970s martial arts films, Master of the Flying Guillotine.

After decades of poorly-dubbed versions of the film circulating the globe, respectability has finally been reached in this "Ultimate Edition" release of one of the most influential and widely mimicked kung fu extravagances captured on celluloid. It is now a fully-restored, uncut, widescreen presentation with English subtitles, complete with an ultra groovy, electronic Kraftwerk-esque soundtrack.

The film plays out like straight kung fu pulp. Set in the time of the Ching Dynasty, when the Chings employ martial arts experts to rid the land of the rebellious Hans. The main bad dude of these martial arts experts, Fung Sheng Wu Chi (Kang Kim, who holds the uncanny look of a Whitesnake roadie), has mastery of the flying guillotine - a bladed device that is hurled over the head and then decapitates its victims. When his two disciples are killed trying to take down one of the Hans' greatest fighters, The One-Armed Boxer, Fung, swears vengeance.

The One-Armed Boxer (played with stern determination by Jimmy Wang Fu - who also directed and wrote the film) runs a martial arts school teaching his students the art of "jumping" and how to walk across walls like Fred Astaire. He refuses to participate in a local martial arts tournament due to his belief in the spiritual nature of the arts. The film then kicks into a series of goofy, and at times downright laughable, series of matches between fighting stances such as crane style and eagle's claws, and colorful characters including "Win Without A Knife" Yakuma from Japan and Yoga Master from India. Additionally, the design and execution of the martial arts tournament is reflective in video games such as Tekken and the Virtua Fighter series.

From the rooftops, Fung and his flying guillotine interrupt the tournament and attack the One-Armed Boxer, who narrowly escapes. Fung then enlists one of the members of the tournament - the Thai Boxer Nai Men (Chi Fu Chiang) - to assist in hunting down the One-Armed Boxer, thus setting off a wild chain of events pitting a blind man with a mean throwing arm against a skilled one-armed man with an even deadlier mind.

Master of the Flying Guillotine holds all the cards in delivering the most intense and entertaining 90 minutes of pure, pure action I've seen all summer. Every arm thrust and bone-crunching kick is delivered with extreme sound design. The fight sequences are crude and excessive - minus the balletic movements seen in the works of master choreographer Yuen Woo Ping (The Matrix). The acting is campy. The dialogue is wooden and quotable but is delivered with such reverence that even I was in fear of the flying guillotine's blind master. It stands as the pinnacle of 1970s martial arts films.

Aka Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi.



Master of the Flying Guillotine

Facts and Figures

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 1st February 1977

Distributed by: Pathfinder Home Entertainment

Production compaines: First Film Organization Ltd.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Yu Wang as Liu Ti Lung, The One-Armed Boxer, Kang Chin as Fung Sheng Wu Chi, Chung-erh Lung as Wu Shao-tieh (as Kun Yee Lung), Chia Yung Liu as Chang Chia Yu (as Kar Wing Lau), as Win-Without-a-Knife Yakuma, Chien-Po Tsen as Nai Men, Fei Lung as Win-Without-a-Knife Yakuma Jiro, Pai Cheng Hau as Master Wu, Han Hsieh as Referee

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