Master of the Flying Guillotine
One-Armed Boxer II / The One-Armed Boxer vs the Flying Guillotine
Taiwan/Hong Kong 1975
Wong Cheuk Hong for First Films
directed by Jimmy Wang Yu
starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Chin Kang, Wang Wing Sheng, Lung Fei, Sham Tsim Po, Lung Chung-erh (as Lung Kun Yee), Liu Chia Yung (as Lau Kar Wing), Chi Fu Chiang, Hau Pai Cheng, Wang Ming Fei, Hsieh Han, Jack Long, Lung Fong, Wang Tie Lang, Chen Tak Chi, Alan Chui Chung San, Chu Tien Wu, Ho Wai Hung, Hsieh Hsing, Philip Kwok, Shan Mao, Shao Kao Shan, Shih Ting Ken, Sun Jung Chi,, Robert Tai, Teng Kun Chang, Wang Chiang, Yu Sung Chao
written by Jimmy Wang Yu, music by Chen Hsun Chi, fight choreography by Liu Chia Yung (as Lau Kar Wing), Liu Chia-Liang (as Lau Kar Liang)
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Because the one-armed boxer (Jimmy Wang Yu) has killed two of his
disciples, Fung Sheng (Chin Kang), the blind master of the flying
guillotine - a weird spinning device that's attached to a rope and that's
capable of beheading people pretty much in flight - wants revenge. So he
chooses a martial arts tournament held by Master Wu (Hau Pai Cheng) to try
and track down the boxer, since he figures the boxer is much too capable a
martial artist to not participate.
The one-armed boxer though does
indeed decide to not participate, mainly because he is a man wanted by the
law, and fighting at the tournament would attract too much attention.
Nevertheless, he lets his students talk him into at least observing the
whole thing as a simple audience member, since there's much to learn from
other masters. And the fights presented at the event - mostly to the death
- are wild indeed, especially a Thai fighter (Sham Tsim Po), a Japanese
fighter (Lung Fei) and a Yoga Master (Wang Wing Sheng) attract the boxer's
attention - though none of them seems to be particularly keen on the
boxer's friendship. Then the master of the flying guillotine attacks
rather blindly (excuse the pun) and throws the whole thing into chaos,
even going so far as to kill Master Wu.
Master Wu's daughter (Lung
Chung-erh) is saved by the Japanese fighter, but he wants to make her his
slave, and it's only thanks to teh one-armed boxer that she is saved.
Meanwhile, the master of the flying guillotine teams up with the Thai
fighter to track the boxer down ...
There is actually not one finale but
four in this film, as the one-armed boxer has to fight first the Yoga
Master, then take on the Thai fighter - whom he lures into a house with a
heated floor which puts the bare-footed Thai at a disadvantage, and
finally he is not only defeated but also fried -, then it's the Japanese's
turn to try (and fail) to have revenge. Finally, it's the main event, the
master of the flying guillotine versus the one-armed boxer - and the boxer
has taken a few precautions, like hiding himself in a field of bamboo-logs
to render the guillotine toothless or adapt a petstore and a coffin store
to his needs. so finally, against all odds, the one-armed boxer defeats
the master of the flying guillotine ...
Usually, martial arts
tournaments are a rather lame narrative device, as they are nothing more
than an excuse to feature much fighting and little in terms of motivation.
In this respect of course, Master of the Flying Guillotine is no
exception to the rule - and yet the film works better than most, because
the fight scenes the audience is presented with are wild, imaginative and
inventive, and by presenting many different fighting styles from the
traditional to the made-up-on-the-spot, they offer something new almost
constantly - and especially the Yoga Master who can superhumanly stretch
his arms to double their length is good fun. Plus, the flying guillotine
itself is of course a wonderful and bizarre weapon good for many a gory
killing. And since director Jimmy Wang Yu keeps the action moving at a
very steady pace and hardly ever lets up while still managing to tell a
story, this one is an enjoyable martial arts feast from start to finish.