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Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976)
"Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi" (original title)

 -  Action | Fantasy  -  February 1977 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,995 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 52 user | 63 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

After his students are killed by the One Armed Boxer, a vengeful and blind Kung Fu expert travels to a village where a martial arts contest is being held and vows to behead every one armed man he comes across.

Director:

(as Jimmy Wang Yu)

Writer:

(as Jimmy Wang Yu)
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Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Kang Chin ...
Chung-Erh Lung ...
Wu Shao-tieh (as Kun Yee Lung)
Chia Yung Liu ...
Chang Chia Yu (as Kar Wing Lau)
Lung Wei Wang ...
Win-Without-a-Knife Yakuma (as Lung Wang)
Chien-Po Tsen ...
Nai Men
Fei Lung ...
Win-Without-a-Knife Yakuma Jiro
Hou-Chiang Chi
Pai Cheng Hau ...
Master Wu
Ming Fei Wang
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tak Chi Chen
Tien Wu Chu
Alan Chung San Chui ...
(as Chung Hei Chui)
Wai Hung Ho
Han Hsieh ...
Referee
Edit

Storyline

The one-armed boxer is stalked by a vengeful flying guillotine expert, after his disciples were killed in the first 'One-Armed Boxer' film. But as the flying guillotine master is blind, he starts his quest by becoming a serial killer of one-armed men. Meanwhile, the one-armed boxer is running a martial arts school, where he teaches his pupils to control their breath so they can run up walls and along ceilings. And there's an Indian fakir whose arms can extend until they're ten feet long. As you may have gathered, a rational plot summary is pretty pointless - but rest assured there are epic martial arts battles and ludicrously inspired moments galore. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's A Mean Machine - Cuts Your Head Off Clean! See more »

Genres:

Action | Fantasy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

February 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Master of the Flying Guillotine  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most or all music featuring in the film was used without permission of copyright holders (when the film was first released). See more »

Goofs

When the one-armed snake-fist contestant is on the ground fending off his opponent during the tournament, his "missing" hand is visible. See more »

Quotes

Liu Ti Lung, The One-Armed Boxer: Nice jumping.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Morgenspaziergang
(courtyard music)
Performed by Kraftwerk
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Kung Fu Gladiator Masterpiece
16 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This is a sequel to director Yu Wang's 1971 film One-Armed Boxer (Dop bey kuan wan). Fung Sheng Wu Chi (Kang Kam), as the master of the flying guillotine, is a blind Ching Dynasty assassin, with a directive to quell potential rebels. After his two disciples were killed by Tien Lung (Yu Wang), the one-armed boxer (in the prequel), Fung has sworn revenge.

Although many rightfully consider this film a masterpiece, if you're not much of a fan of martial arts fight sequences in films, you probably shouldn't bother with Master of the Flying Guillotine. That's because there isn't much screen time taken up by anything else. Beside the fights, there is very little action or dialogue. Every fight in Master of the Flying Guillotine is engaging, but the last two are probably the best. These are two of the best fight scenes I've seen in any film.

We know right out of the gate that Master of the Flying Guillotine is going to be something special. The opening cinematography is beautiful, the introduction to Fung captivating, and we're quickly introduced to an ingeniously odd and sinister "growling/grinding" musical leitmotif for Fung, which is achieved by slowing down a musical recording (it's actually a song by the German band Neu!) As a leitmotif, the music reappears whenever Fung reappears, with all the impact and then some of Darth Vader's leitmotif music in the Star Wars films.

There are two factors that make this film so remarkable overall. The first is the fantastic and brutal nature of the martial arts. In a lesser film, the fantasy aspects could easily be unintentionally funny. Here, they're just enthralling. Every fighter has some unique style and/or skill, and the extended "kung fu gladiator" tournament focuses on these, to our benefit. The second, less obvious factor, is the depth of characterization and implied, complex plot and backstory achieved by Yu Wang solely through the fight sequences. Even though 90-something percent of the film is just fight sequences, nothing is lacking.

A 10 out of 10 from me.


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