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Master of the Flying Guillotine
   |     review    |     DVD notes     |     availability     |      
"I'm telling you, it's just a hat."

Kam Kong shows off his hatwear in Master of the Flying Guillotine.
AKA: One Arm Boxer Versus The Flying Guillotine
Year: 1974
Director: Jimmy Wang Yu  
Producer: Wong Cheuk-Hon
Action: Lau Kar-Yan, Lau Kar-Leung, Lau Kar-Wing
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Kam Kong, Lau Kar-Wing, Lung Kun-Yee, Yu Sung-Chao, Doris Lung Chun-Erh, Robert Tai, Philip Kwok Chun-Fung, Lung Fong
The Skinny: Be ready for decapitations galore in this gonzo cult classic from Jimmy Wang Yu.
Review by

     Master of the Flying Guillotine is not your average chopsocky flick. In this sequel to 1971's One Armed Boxer, Jimmy Wang Yu stars as an amputee kung fu master marked for death by Fung Cheh Wu Chi (Kam King), the titular master of the flying guillotine. As explained in the pre-credit sequence, Fung is the last of a group of assassins ordered by the Manchu Emperor to slaughter rebels allied with the Ming resistance. His special instrument of death: a lethal and completely implausible weapon that resembles a Qing dynasty-era hat with razor-sharp blades hidden inside. By way of a long chain, the guillotine is swung and hurled onto the head of some unsuspecting victim, a chain mail net comes down, and SNAP! - off with his head. It's a gruesome gag, but pretty funny as well.
     Early in the movie, the cold-blooded Qing assassin gets a new target, the renowned One Armed Boxer, who just happens to be responsible for the death of Fung's evil disciples. Disguising himself as a Buddhist monk, the master of the flying guillotine embarks on a bloody trail of vengeance, killing all the unsuspecting one-armed men that he comes across. Meanwhile, Wang Yu's One Armed Boxer, now head of a kung fu academy, is invited to a Mortal Kombat-style martial arts tournament. The amputee hero accepts the invitation, but only as a spectator. However, when Fung makes his fatal appearance at the proceedings, the One Armed Boxer is drawn into an inescapable conflict as the foreign competitors align themselves with the guillotine master. Among the memorable combatants are a charismatic Thai fighter (not to be confused with TIE Fighter) and a yoga master with extendable/retractable arms (an obvious precursor to Street Fighter 2's Dhalsim). After a series of ultra-cool martial arts set pieces, the One Armed Boxer eventually faces off with Fung in an awesome coffin-tossing, wall-climbing, one-arm boxing, guillotine-throwing finale.
     The movie is undeniably a fun flick, but to be perfectly honest, it isn't exactly a pulse-pounding action thrill ride. Furthermore, Jimmy Wang Yu isn't much of a martial artist. But considering the time period in which it was made, Master of the Flying Guillotine, with its inventive setups, quirky gimmicks, and winning energy, is head and shoulders above the competition. Or how about, "It goes straight to the head of the class!" Get it? Okay, I'll stop. (Calvin McMillin, 2002)

DVD Notes:

Pathfinder Home Entertainment's Master of the Guillotine: Ultimate Edition DVD contains 12 additional minutes of footage not included in the original release.

Region 0 NTSC
Pathfinder Home Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin and English Language Tracks
English and Spanish Subtitles
Wayne Major and Andy Klein Audio Commentary
Trailers and Still Gallery

image courtesy of Pathfinder Home Entertainment Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen