Another 1970’s martial arts movie from Taiwan – Master of the Flying Guillotine! It is a sequel to the movie One Armed Boxer starring Jimmy Wang Yu, who was in The One Armed Swordsman – another movie in which he had one arm despite the fact he is an actor who possesses two complete arms.
Master of the Flying Guillotine tells the story of an imperial assassin who mas mastered the use his weapon – the flying guillotine (surprise!). The Blind old man by the name if Fung Sheng Wu Chi, uses the Flying Guillotine to decapitate is opponents, as it can either cut, or lock onto an opponent’s head and slice it off.
After discovering two of his disciples have been killed by a one armed man, The evil Fung Sheng Wu Chi ventures out to exact his revenge.
Meanwhile while the one armed man named Liu Ti Lung teaches his class the finer points of Kung Fu. He talks of a tournament being held locally, and that his students can enter if they wish, but that it is unimportant and he refuses to enter. He discovers that Fung Sheng Wu Chi is out to kill him, despite the fact, as he explains, he killed his students in self defense.
As the tournament begins and Fung Sheng Wu Chi attacks things get messy and a lot of Kung Fu battles take place with many foreign participants to keep things interesting.
Some Very Colorful Characters
A lot of the characters in this film have very obvious differences in appearance and ability which create an interesting line up of fights.
You’ve got the obvious main character Liu Ti Lung – a respected Kung Fu master with only one arm as well as his arch nemesis the Master of the Flying Guillotine the blind old man Fung Sheng Wu Chi. Not your standard kung fu heros, but both with obvious disabilities who also represent the most skilled and deadly of all the fighters.
Among some of the tournament participants you have a Japanese man who is incredibly powerful, and also a Thai boxer who shows some very traditional knees and Muay Thai techniques after performing a bit of the Ram Muay (a traditional dance) that usually precedes a Thai boxing fight.
Perhaps one of the most visually odd/outstanding characters is an Indian man who has the ability to double the length of his arms and fight from a distance. It all becomes very interesting and as each fighter and fight seems to be unique in nature.
The storyline itself is nothing fantastic, but this interesting line up is what makes the movie work well, although a little quirky. Combined with some decent martial arts choreography.
Action & Martial Arts
Expect a 70’s movie with 70’s style martial arts action – it was made in 1976!
Each fight is a bit different due to the difference in characters abilities and physical attributes. Each fight has a paced but even rhythm and isn’t to bad to watch, but the best is saved for last.
The final fight shows Liu Ti Lung and Fung Sheng Wu Chi fighting it out in a carefully planned environment. Liu Ti Lung draws the fight to an area which is set with traps and weapons he can utilize at any time. There are also a lot of obstructions to help neutralize the strength of the flying guillotine and even the fight – a really smart scene I thought.
Overall not a bad 70’s Martial Arts flick, one of the classics but not a list topper. Check it out though if you’re a fan of the classics.
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Master of the Flying Guillotine [DVD]