Master of the Flying Guillotine directed by Yu Wang

I mean, just the title alone makes me giggle

I mean, just the title alone makes me giggle.

That’s one ridiculous title.  It screams “cheese” and “fun.”  That truly is what you get.  In the first five minutes the “master of the flying guillotine” gets so pissed that some of his apprentices were killed by a man known as the one-armed boxer (yup, dudes got one arm) he jumps out of his house through the roof, does some flips, sets his house on fire with marbles that are apparently incendiary grenades, and then takes out his anger on some planks of wood with his unfolding umbrella/lampshade with teeth, the flying guillotine.

I’m pretty sure this one was directed with all the seriousness in the world, and while it does serve as a fine example of some of the most fast paced and entertaining martial arts action from the 70’s, it’s also a movie that is just fucking hysterical to watch.

The acting is hammy,but its all fuel for the incredible amount of charm this film has.  How can you really fault a martial arts movie, from the orient, made in the 70’s, for having acting that is laughable?  You can’t.  Unless the movie sucks.  And this certainly doesn’t.

It’s saving grace is that the parts that are meant to be gravely important and tell the story, are laugh out loud funny.  The fighting bits go from this “LOL” greatness, to actually being DAMN good fights.  And there’s a ton of them, especially in the middle bit where we get almost 30 minutes of straight, back to back, uninterrupted one on one tournament action.  We get tons of different types of combatants as well.  The guy who cheats and uses a knife in his staff to kill, who’s ironically named “Wins without a knife.”  Yeah, that’s the dudes name.  Also we get the Indian guy who’s a yoga expert, that’s his fighting style, with the stretchy arms, like the guy from street fighter II (the video game).

Of course I would be regretful if I didn’t mention that our main baddy, the flying guillotine master, is blind.  So we get a cripple battle between a guy throwing around the deadliest umbrella ever known to man, and a man who has one arm.  I can’t make this shit up, even if I tried really hard.

The production does its part too.  Sound effect for every punch, even if they are just practicing and punching the air.  The video warps, changes color, tears, and a number of other genuine “grindhouse” like results of being a film probably so battered and abused over the years, it’s a miracle it still exists.  The music is really good actually, shame I can’t make fun of that.

If you want to have a good laugh, or see something very absurd, or your big into old-school martial arts flicks, or your….anybody really…you should see this movie, if only to have “yeah, I’ve seen it.”

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About Alex Seda

"I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall - looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it." ~Dr. Loomis email alex
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One Response to Master of the Flying Guillotine directed by Yu Wang

  1. Ronnie says:

    Apparently (from using my Google-ninja skills) this film IS the inspiration for most martial arts games like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter and so on.

    Also, the one armed boxer? Well apparently this is actually ‘The One Armed Boxer II’ aka: Master of the Flying Guillotine. So we may well need to hunt down ‘The One Armed Boxer’ to see what came before MotFG (I’m not typing that name again, it’s too long!) 😀

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