Thursday, October 10, 2013

Master of the Flying Guillotine

Okay, let me start by saying there are so many reasons to like this movie, both seriously as a good example of a Hong Kong Kung Fu film and as a campy, old action movie with some absurd moments. Additionally, for fans of post-punk and early industrial music, you get an amazing soundtrack. The background music sounds like it could be Clock DVA messing around in the studio before laying down their real tracks, and the main title theme could easily be a Chrome outtake from Half Machine Lip Moves. Oh, and this was released in early 1976, so it was ahead of its time punk-wise.

The guy pictured above is the Master of the Flying Guillotine, "the most gruesome weapon ever conceived!" He's so bad ass that he can punch the air! His fists make loud sounds on impact with even our gassy atmosphere! Don't fuck with this guy. He can jump straight up through a thatched roof!  He's got a weird hat on a chain that decapitates any person, statue or chicken he throws it at.  And did I mention he's blind?

This guy is the One-Armed Boxer. He's also a total badass, and can even walk on the goddamn ceiling, but he works for the Ming dynasty, so the Master of the Flying Guillotine wants to kill him. The Master is actually the antagonist in this film. And it raises the question: which handicap makes you a better Kung Fu master? It's an age old question, finally put to the test.
Despite his moustache, this Mongol Kung Fu master isn't a major character.
Some guy holds an open tournament for masters of Kung Fu from all over. This Mongol guy with a great moustache shows up, as well as a Thai boxer, an Okinawan kobojutsu user, and an India yoga master. The One-Armed Boxer brings his disciples to watch the event, but he doesn't want to attract the attention of the authorities, so they have to keep a low profile. It's not so easy to evade prying eyes when you only have one arm. I mean, how many one-armed guys can possibly show up to a Kung Fu tournament? At least three. The blind master kills the other two, because apparently he can hear the sound of having just one arm. He's going to kill every one-armed man he meets, just to be sure he gets the One-Armed Boxer. So, he starts fucking shit up at the tournament, and recruits a few of the foreign masters to help him track down the Boxer.
If you practice yoga and you can't do this, you are doing it wrong.
After this, there's just a lot of Kung Fu, just like the part of the film before this. You get decapitations, burnt feet, poetic justice, random pink-filter flash backs. All a lot of fun.
"He wasn't the One-Armed Boxer. He was a one-armed bum!"


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