The Flying Guillotine
Emperor Yung Cheng creates an army of Flying Guillotine users to take down anyone that he may see as a threat, but such an army makes him far deadlier and vicious targeting anyone who should dare even look at him the wrong way. When one of the Flying Guillotine members decides to escape he encounters the full wrath of the Emperor and his army.
Unlike it’s unofficial sequels this is a rather tame (yet bloody) start to the myth of the flying guillotine. If you’re gonna get into the Flying Guillotine series then watch this first because what’s going to come later will blow this away. The film has a few nice moments with some interesting action scenes and concepts but inbetween the actual action there is not much else to keep your attention besides a pale love story of a man on the run. In the dubbed version I watched the ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ theme was used. Interestingly enough this theme crops up again in ‘The Grandmaster’. Coincidence or inspiration?
This movie seems to take place between parts 1 and 2 of the Flying Guillotine movies. It does feature the guillotine but only very little. A lot of the guillotine stuff is stock footage from the previous film and there’s only one really new scene in which we see them in action briefly. This isn’t about Flying Guillotines. This is more of a side story about a pregnant Heroine who is trying to save the life of herself and her unborn child. Despite it’s short running time it is a clumsy, plodding story which I found a bit tasteless, for example women’s tops magically disappearing from one scene to the next and a naked wet woman running though a forest. It’s a movie that would be embarrassing to watch with others. There were some impressive scenes such as the bamboo tree fight which must have had some inspiration on more modern WuXia movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The final fight too was well done albeit too short. Unfortunately the story is so poor that I would suggest just skipping this altogether.
Flying Guillotine 2
In this sequel a more deadly flying guillotine is invented in order to defeat the Iron Umbrella, a weapon which was able to defeat the original flying guillotine.
It’s kinda fun and in some ways, it improves on the original. Certainly the action is better choreographed but the story lacks focus on a main character, switching between Ma Teng and Na Lan. I found a lot of Na Lan’s scenes unnecessary and overlong, they seemed to be padding the story just to fill out the running time. Ma Teng is the real hero who is continuing his story from the first movie and this time has the added desire for revenge yet he only pops up now and again.
The training of female guillotine assassins seems like something movies of today would do to pander to female audiences, however we never see these girls in action and they are taken out swiftly by their male counterparts.
The ending of the film is pretty bleak and typical of most KungFu movies of the time, but what keeps you watching till the end is for the newest and most deadly designed flying guillotine to appear.
Master of the Flying Guillotine AKA ‘The One Armed Boxer Vs The Master of the Flying Guillotine’ AKA ‘The One armed Boxer 2’
The sequel to the One Armed Boxer is Hellishly fun. Once again Jimmy Wang Yu returns as the One Armed Boxer; a man who lost his arm in combat but strengthened his other arm to superhuman ability by sticking it in a fire and smashing it with a very large rock a few thousand times (don’t try at home kids). In this film he is hunted by a deadly Assassin who uses his Flying Guillotine to decapitate anyone who gets in his way.
It’s far from being a well Choreographed Kung Fu movie but damn is it entertaining and crazy. This takes the original film and turns it up to 11. Not only do we have a blind monk that can decapitate people with a flying guillotine we now have characters who can walk on the ceiling and extend their arms to three times their original length. At times it boarders on Dragon Ball.
As for the Master of the flying Guillotine. He’s a total bad ass. He reminds me of the character of Zatoichi at his most ruthless. His ears even move in the same way as Zatoichi. Fung Sheng Wu Chi is a type of character that you really don’t want to mess with. It’s a shame that we only got one movie featuring the character but he is definitely the less is more variety of Villain.
Adding to the awesomeness of the movie is the music by Neu! which is used throughout the film. I particularly liked the theme the Master of the flying Guillotine. Definitely not your average Kung Fu 70s soundtrack.
Hellishly fun. Grab a six pack of Beer, sit down with your boys and watch this. The One Armed Boxer is outmatched in this movie and it’s his wits more than brawn that he has to use.
Fatal Flying Guillotines
Not a great movie. I was only able to find a dubbed version of this which explains a lot of the problems this film has. If I were to take a guess I would say this dub cast just made it up as they went along because it makes **** all sense.
Supposedly a prequel to ‘Master of the Flying Guillotine’ but the flying Gulliotine (now called the lighting strike) is now something like an electric blender. As a prequel movie I don’t really get that…. and also because like…electricity doesn’t exist yet at the time this movie is set in. But whatever. It’s a short enough film that you can burn some free time with. As for the Master of the Flying Guillotine. Well, the film twists our expectations and his reveal at the end is a bit of a stinker. Basically the film is about this guy sitting in a field waiting for people to bring him a shaolin medicine book because he has become sick from too much exercise…. People offer him half the book if he joins them, but instead he decides to behead them. Basically, he’s really bad at negotiating. At the end someone else gets the medicine book and for some reason they can learn how to master the flying guillotine from it. What?!
As I said, I blame the dub for destroying anything that might have made sense in this film.
Zatoichi Vs. The Flying Guillotine AKA ‘Blind Swordsman’s Revenge’ AKA ‘A Sword Renowned’ 盲劍血滴子
Don’t you love it when you come across a title as bizarre as this? It’s actually not that bad. The title alone got me pumped to see this absolutely strange encounter. As I was continuing my journey through the world of Zatoichi I was very surprised when I came across this Taiwanese film. This isn’t an official Zatoichi Movie nor is Shintaro Katsu playing the character. Instead we have an almost very convincing lookalike played by Lung Sing who played the character in up to 3 Taiwanese films in total. In this series we discover that Zatoichi is actually a man named Wu Chung Hi who was kidnapped by pirates as a young Child and taken to Japan. Who would have thought eh? Upon his return to his homeland of China he discovers his long lost brother has been killed by another sword fighter, Chu Yen, and so Zatoichi decides to find Chu Yen and get his revenge. On his journey to find the man he encounters another swordsman, Black doomsday, who wants to kill this Chu Yen also. They agree to join forces and find Chu Yen.
Thrown into the middle of this mess is another man who is after Zatoichi with his flying Guillotine. While the weapon is similar in style and bullet firing sound to ‘Master of the Flying Guillotine’ the character who uses it is not the same. The Flying Guillotine is actually an unnecessary plot element in this and at times I felt like I was watching 2 movies spliced together. That may well be the case here… Even though the plot is all over the place it’s a far more coherent movie than Fatal Flying Guillotine.
As for the character of Zatoichi the lookalike Sing Lung does a pretty darn good job. I get the feeling he must have spent hours viewing Shintaro Katsu’s performance to get his imitation down. While his facial expressions are great his body movements are less so. He doesn’t have Zatoichi’s walk nor the natural cold sword movement of Katsu. As for the characterization, while it has all the Zatoichi tropes, cane sword, gambling etc. this version is a little more cold blooded, a little bit more comical and a bit too arrogant for his own good.
Chu Yen, the man Zatoich is after also seems to be channeling Jimmy Wan Yu’s one Armed swordsman. Despite having two arms in this he does have a broken sword and his look is somewhat similar to Wang’s swordsman.
Despite the poor quality I viewed this in I have to say that the Director tries to make this movie visually interesting, the framing of some scenes along with the quick edits are showing a director who wants to experiment and add a visual flare to scenes, which I kinda liked. There are some nice shots in this. But also there are some edits that just make you laugh at how ridiculous they look.
IMDB lists this film as been released in 1974 while HKMD lists it as been released in 1972. I’m not sure if either is accurate as ‘Master of the Flying Guillotine’ was released in 1976 which would come after this movie, yet clearly the flying Guillotine in this movie is based on the one in the 1976 film, the design and the sound effect. Not only that but Zatoichi Vs Flying Guillotine is an obvious cash in on the Master of the flying Guillotine. Even the original flying Guillotine movie was released in 1974 so obviously the release date of the above is wrong. If anyone can provide more accurate information it would be welcomed.
Overall I would rank the films like this
Master of the Flying Guillotine
The Flying Guillotine
Flying Guillotine 2
Zatoichi Vs The Flying Guillotine
Fatal Flying Guillotine
Favorite Quote: “I smell blood…” – Fung Sheng Wu Chi