Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Master of the Flying Guillotine - 1976

Here we go, with more kung fu movies to make us scream.  This movie has picked up quite a cult following due to high recommendations from Quentin Tarantino as well as others, and it is something everyone should probably see.  Also known as The One Armed Boxer vs. the Flying Guillotine.

This movie is a sequel, the first film The One Armed Boxer has not picked up the type of following that this movie did, and that's probably unfortunate.  This movie is a true sequel where it talks about things that happened in the first movie and thus we're left with only a partial storyline.

Apparently, a one armed boxer killed some fighters that were related to the Flying Guillotine guy, who is named Fung Sheng Wu Chi.  Fung Sheng is tracking down and killing all people with one arm in his search for the one armed boxer, a bit of an unnecessary overkill if you ask me.  He kills them with the weapon of the title, the flying guillotine.  The flying guillotine is a truly awesome weapon, a  red dome that has a saw blade around the edge.  He throws the dome over the top of a persons head, a screen drops over their face, and the blade decapitates them!

There is tons of fighting in this movie.  Let's just say that straight up and let it sit.  There is TONS of it.  This movie sometimes gets mixed reviews, sometimes gets lambasted by critics.  And I think the reason is the amount of fighting.  Now, if that's what you're looking for, awesome!  But if it's not, well...  There is a series of fights- a tournament, that take up literally 20 minutes of this movie.  The fights are not plot progressive, only two of them really matter, and the rest are just fights for the sake of fights.

Additionally, a lot of the fights in this movie forgo having truly unique choreography and effects in lieu of just having real martial artists show their skill.  So sometimes it gets a bit tedious.  This movie does have some cool special characters though.  There is an Indian fighter who can stretch his arms out like Dhalsim in Street Fighter, for example.

The fighting "problem" aside, this movie is flawless.  The soundtrack is strange and unique, a lot of German music, bizarre sounds, and it somehow works.  The characters are very memorable, and the movie moves along at a good pace.  The dubbed version of it is well acted and performed, the subtitles version more true to life, but this is not a film where it especially matters which version you watch.

I would say this movie is worth seeing for any fan of kung fu movies, weird movies, and generally anyone.  It has enough entertainment value to watch even if you don't like "these types" of movies, just fast forward that 20 minute pointless fight sequence.

I'll give it 4 stars.

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