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Master of the Flying Guillotine (HK 1975)

Director : Jimmy Wang Yu
Cast : Jimmy Wang Yu, Kang Kam, Chung-erh Lung, Chia Yung Liu, Lung Wei Wang and Tsim Po Sham

by Edward Tang

The Ultimate Uncut Version. Wow, this is a film I’ve always remembered, not because it displays the best martial arts on film, just because it is probably one of the most unique and obscure titles out there. Jimmy Wang Yu has an impressive background, a lot of his films are classic. He wasn’t the best “fighter” but he had charisma that others lacked. In this, he plays the one-armed boxer, a good fighter with good morals. Wang Yu also directed this film, and as you notice if you see it, it might just be one of the campiest films ever created. But don’t get me wrong, martial arts is truly shown in the best sequence in the film, about 25-30 minutes of pure action. All different types of fighting are shown from long swords to yoga.

The story and acting are all very basic, but the one true thing of the film is that it gives us a true bad guy. This bad guy, bushy eyebrows and a decapitation device, is truly a ruthless character, taking out every one-armed man to avenge his student’s death. He even has his own theme music which always makes me smile. In truth, the other memorable characters belong to the Indian who has mastered Yoga. I’m sure if you’ve seen it, you know who I’m talking about. If you haven’t, let us say that his arms stretch a little farther than ours.

The action is where it’s at though, and the scene I mentioned above is truly great. The fight sequence doesn’t seem to drone on, and the first time I saw it, I was guessing on who’d be the victor myself, truly enjoying the process. Noticing a few extras, the fight on the knives, the Win Without a Knife guy, the guy who gets kicked in the balls and dies. The sequence is truly one of the best I’ve seen, and ends on the right note. A one-armed man fights and wins, and then you get the music, and of course, a dead guy.

The final action sequence is cool. I like how Wang Yu’s character utilizes his opponents weakness, the guy from Thailand he thwarts his non-shoe wearing style by burning his feet. The Win Without a Knife guy is killed the same way he won a fight earlier in the film, and the Master himself is taken advantage of with his blindness. The sequence is very good, making the bad guy seem to have some fighting power, and shows that Wang Yu at least has a gift for making a sequence that is pure fun and action.

The down parts of this film are very small because since this film is so short, you really can’t remember most of the smaller details, only the stuff that matters. The whole interaction with Win without a Knife and the girl was pointless, a few notes of the back story and very little else were the only things off track. I guess if you count for odd, Wang Yu walking up a building might turn some people away for being “stupid”, but it didn’t bother me a bit.

What more could you ask for in a martial arts film? You’ve got plenty of kick ass action and corn to go your way, plus this film never gets boring, and that’s a quality. This is one of the must see films if you like the genre.

Plot : 2/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- The martial arts tournament
- the final showdown between Wang Yu and the Master himself.

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Master of Flying Guillotine

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