Master of the Flying Guillotine
Master of the Flying Guillotine is a 1976 Taiwanese wuxia film starring Jimmy Wang Yu, who also wrote and directed the film. It is a sequel to Wang's 1971 film One Armed Boxer, and thus the film is also known as One-Armed Boxer 2 and The One Armed Boxer vs. the Flying Guillotine.
|Master of the Flying Guillotine|
|Master of the Flying Guillotine|
American theatrical release poster
|Mandarin||Dú Bì Quán Wáng Dà Pò Xuě Dī Zǐ|
|Cantonese||Duk6 Bei3 Kyun4 Wong4 Daai6 Po3 Hyut3 Dik1 Zi2|
|Directed by||Jimmy Wang|
|Produced by||Wong Cheuk-hon|
|Written by||Jimmy Wang Yu|
|Starring||Jimmy Wang Yu|
|Music by||Frankie Chan|
|Edited by||Kwok Ting-hung|
|Distributed by||Epoch Entertainment (Cinema Epoch) & Pathfinder Pictures|
|Language||Mandarin & Cantonese.|
The film concerns Wang's one-armed martial arts master being stalked by an imperial assassin, the master of two fighters (the Tibetan lamas) who were killed in the previous film. The title refers to the assassin's weapon, the "flying guillotine", which resembles a hat with a bladed rim attached to a long chain. Upon enveloping one's head, the blades cleanly decapitate the victim with a quick pull of the chain. The Boxer's adversary is the assassin Fung Sheng Wu Chi who is blind, knows the Flying Guillotine, and relies on others to identify the one-armed man, and he kills any that he meets. When the One-Armed Boxer is invited to attend a martial arts tournament, his efforts to lie low are unsuccessful, and the assassin soon tracks him down with the help of his three subordinates competing in the tournament: a Thai boxer, a yoga master, and a kobojutsu user.
The One-Armed Boxer leaves the tournament and, using a series of traps, defeats the assassin's subordinates. Unable to directly confront the deadly assassin himself, the One-armed Boxer devises a plan that uses misdirection. Taking advantage of the assassin's blindness by using bamboo poles as a lure, each time the blind assassin throws his weapon, it becomes snagged on one of the bamboo poles effectively removing the inner blades of the assassin's deadly weapon; however as it still contains a jagged outer edge it is still a formidable weapon. The One-armed Boxer then proceeds to convert a coffin-maker's shop into an elaborate trap. Once the weapon is finally destroyed, the One-armed Boxer engages the assassin in a duel and defeats him.
- Jimmy Wang Yu as the One-armed Boxer
- Kam Kong as Fung Sheng Wu Chi
- Doris Lung as Wu's daughter
- Sham Chin-bo as Nai Men, the Thai boxer
- Lung Fei as Yakuma
- Wong Wing-sang as Indian fighter (The film gives him the name Yogi Tro Le Soung)
- Sit Hon as tournament referee
- Lau Kar-wing as fighter with a three-section staff
- Wong Fei-lung as One-armed boxer's student
- Yu Chung-chiu as Wu Chang Sang
- Shan Mao as bamboo cutter
- Wang Tai-lang as Ma Wu Kung, Monkey stylist
- Shih Ting-ken as One-armed boxer's student
- Lung Sai-ga as Wang Jiang
- Philip Kwok as Chang Chia Yu
- Lung Fong as Tiger Fists / nose-picking fight
- Sun Jung-chi as Daredevil Lee San
- Wong Lik as Tornado Knives Lei Kung
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 90% of 20 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 6.9/10. Metacritic rated the film 57/100 based on eleven reviews. Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times called it "near-great" and "a venerable example of the kung fu genre". Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Master of the Flying Guillotine has been called the Holy Grail of the Hong Kong martial arts movies of the '70s, and now that it has been lovingly restored and given a regular theatrical release, it's easy to see why." Joey O'Bryan of The Austin Chronicle rated it 2/5 stars and called it "a mess" that fails to live up to the epic brawl promised by the alternate title. Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club called it "a delirious kung-fu saga" that is "wild even by the genre's lenient standards". Rabin concludes, "Goofy Z-movie fun of the highest order, Master Of The Flying Guillotine needs to be seen to be believed, and even then defies belief." Phil Hall of Film Threat rated it 1.5/5 stars and wrote, "[T]his silly production stands as a dinky reminder of why martial arts film fell out of favor during the mid-1970s". J. Doyle Wallis of DVD Talk rated it 4/5 stars and called it "a complete guilty pleasure that leaves you feeling high off its empty b-movie fun". Mike Pinsky of DVD Verdict wrote that the film toys with and subverts many martial arts film cliches, which makes it surprising and entertaining.
Most of the music in the film is taken from Krautrock bands, and includes: "Super" (Opening theme) and "Super 16" (Master Fung's theme) from Neu!'s second studio album, Neu! 2; "Rubycon, Part One" (The One-Armed Boxer's theme) from Tangerine Dream's sixth studio album, Rubycon; and "Mitternacht" (Suspense theme), "Morgenspaziergang" (courtyard music) and "Kometenmelodie 2" (End credits) from Kraftwerk's fourth studio album, Autobahn.
Quentin Tarantino has cited the film as "one of my favorite movies of all time." The character Dhalsim from the Street Fighter video game series has been compared to the Indian assassin in the film. In The Boondocks episode Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy, the Hateocracy member, Lord Rufus Crabmiser, used a flying guillotine disguised as a lobster trap to attack the Freeman family and ultimately kill Bushido Brown.
In 1977, a prequel called Fatal Flying Guillotine was made by Hong Kong director Raymond Liu.
- Thomas, Kevin (2002-05-24). "A 'Master' of Style in Martial Arts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
- "Master of the Flying Guillotine". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
- "Master of the Flying Guillotine (re-release)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Mitchell, Elvis (2002-05-31). "FILM REVIEW; An Avenger Rampages, and Chop! Chop! Heads Roll (or Rather, Fly)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- O'Bryan, Joey (1995-10-20). "Master of the Flying Guillotine". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Rabin, Nathan (2002-09-16). "Master Of The Flying Guillotine". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Hall, Phil (2001-06-06). "Master of the Flying Guillotine". Film Threat. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Wallis, J. Doyle (2002-09-15). "Master of the Flying Guillotine". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Pinsky, Mike (2005-01-27). "Master Of The Flying Guillotine: Two-Disc Anniversary Deluxe Edition". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- Gibalevich, Don (1998). Peary, Gerald, ed. Quentin Tarantino: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi. p. 176. ISBN 9781578060511.
- Ciolek, Todd; Bricken, Rob (2008-04-30). "The 10 Most Ridiculously Stereotyped Fighting Game Characters". Topless Robot. The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- Pierce, Leonard (2010-05-31). "The Boondocks: "Stinkmeaner 3: The Hateocracy"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
- "Fatal Flying Guillotine". The Portland Mercury. Retrieved 2014-07-14.