This film is a 1975 Taiwanese / Hong Kong martial arts film starring Jimmy Wang Yu, who also wrote and directed the film. It is a sequel to Yu's 1971 film One Armed Boxer, and thus the film is also known as One-Armed Boxer 2 and The One Armed Boxer Vs. the Flying Guillotine.
The film concerns Yu's one-armed martial arts master
being stalked by an Imperial assassin
named Fung Sheng Wu Chi, the master of two fighters (the Tibetan Lamas) who were killed in the previous film. When the One-Armed Boxer is invited to attend a martial arts tournament, his efforts to lay low are unsuccessful when the assassin soon tracks him down with the help of his three subordinates competing in the tournament: a Thai boxer named Nai Men, an Indian named Yoga Tro La Seng, and a Japanese kobujutsu user nicknamed "'Wins-without-a-knife' Yakuma."
The title refers to the assassin's unique weapon, the so-called "Flying Guillotine
" which resembles a hat with a bladed rim attached to a long chain. Upon enveloping one's head, the blades cleanly decapitate the unlucky victim
with a quick pull of the chain.
Master of the Flying Guillotine is considered a classic martial arts movie and has influenced many films of the genre that followed, like Bloodsport. The Tournament Arc
trope may have its roots in this movie.
It was paid homage in Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill
, which briefly used the film's droning theme music, an excerpt of the song "Super 16" by Neu!, during the House of Blue Leaves sequence.
The Street Fighter
character Dhalsim's abilities also resemble those of Yoga Tro La Seng from the film, with both characters using a yoga-based fighting style and having an unnatural ability to extend their limbs to attack. The Indian is played by a Chinese man in blackface
. It's pretty surreal in the dub version see this man talking with a faux Indian accent.
) was released in 2012. Instead of Street Fighter
, think Rurouni Kenshin
- there's a whole squad of flying guillotine masters, secretly working for the Qing Empire by killing off dissidents the best way they can. When Tian Lang, The Messiah
of La Résistance
flees their custody while capturing one of their own, it's up to the Guillotines Squad, led by Nala Leng and followed by Obstructive Bureaucrat
Haidu, to track him down to a dirty little village in the barren wasteland, where the truth is waiting for them.
Master of the Flying Guillotine provides examples of:
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Flying Guillotine in Real Life. Though Fung Sheng Wu Chi makes it look easy to use.
- MythBusters took a crack at creating a functional Flying Guillotine as well. Tory actually gets one to work, though it's not nearly as elegant. They said it'd be a good assassin's weapon, but not a particularly good combat one.
- Badass: Even without the dreaded Flying Guillotine, Fung Sheng Wu Chi is not a man you want to fuck with.
- Bald of Evil
- Beard of Evil
- Determinator: To avenge his students Fung Sheng Wu Chi will kill any one armed man he encounters.
- Disability Superpower: The best martial artists in China are apparently a one-armed man and an old blind man.
- Dual Tonfas: Yakuma's weapons. Of course, knifes are hidden in the ends of them.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Extendable Arms: La Seng, the Indian fighter.
- Five-Bad Band: Well, Four Bad Band at least.
- Big Bad: Fung Sheng Wu Chi, the eponymous master of the flying guillotine
- The Dragon: Nai Men, the young Thai boxer who comes off as closest to Fung Sheng Wu Chi's right hand man.
- The Evil Genius: "Wins without a knife" Yakuma, relying more on trickery than on physical power or martial arts skill to win.
- The Dark Chick: Yoga Tro La Seng, standing apart from the group through being the only one showing powers other than improbably cool martial arts skills.
- Guilt By Coincidence
- Iconic Characters: Several characters actually went on to be Expys in other martial arts movies. Some of them got expied into Fighting Games making this a very influential film.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Flying Guillotine itself.
- Made of Iron: The Mongolian fighter's power is total immunity to attacks, until his eyes are poked out.
- Martial Pacifist: This was actually due to Jimmy Wang Yu being a poor martial artist in real life.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The One-Armed Boxer picks a particularly brutal way to defeat the Thai boxer. He locks him in a room where the floor slowly heats up, so that his bare feet are roasted. Unable to fight back, he gets beaten and cooked to death.
- Non-Indicative Name: "Wins-without-a-knife" invariably pulls a knife on his opponents for the win. He uses the nickname as a disarming tactic, so they won't expect it.
- Oddly Common Rarity: There seems to be a lot of one-armed men walking around China.
- Off with His Head!: What the title weapon does to anyone it's used on.
- Popcultural Osmosis
- Retired Badass: Flying Guillotine comes out of retirement to avenge his students' deaths.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Flying Guillotine intends to kill every one-armed man in China until someone tells him that he got his man.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Wins Without a Knife" Yakuma. Who said anything about a knife?
- Tournament Arc: A martial arts tournament is where all the characters meet. A bunch of different styles are showcased, a good number of fatalities occur, and once Fung Shen Wu Chi kills another one-armed fighter, then the guy running it, it's mostly forgottn about.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty
- Underdogs Never Lose
- Actor Allusion: Li Yuchun (Musen) played with bladed projectiles in Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate.
- An Arm and a Leg: One of the Guillotines is sentenced to be ripped apart by five cows. Not whipped or anything, they have to be pulled in the proper direction by farmers. Possibly the most boring display of Laser-Guided Karma ever.
- ...And That Little Girl Was Me:
: For selling that book, the father was sentenced to Death By A Thousand Cuts
, and his four sons were to be beheaded. Except for the youngest, who was just turned 16, and spared the blade... but how could the boy live on, when all his family was gone? And yet, I did
- Chekov's Gun: The papercuts decorating the village turn out to be a cipher - covering the coded letters with them reveals the hidden message.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Leng's childhood friend Haidu, now a regular Imperial officer, assigned to observe the Guillotines on their sortie. They don't trust him for a moment. And they were right.
- The Dung Ages: The little village, filled with nothing but Han Chinese refugees forced out of their lands by the Manchurian Empire, is particularly dingy.
- Heel Face Turn: The surviving Guillotines.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Tian Lang believes the Qing army's massacre of refugees can only be appeased with his death.
- Kill 'em All: ...sadly it doesn't prevent them from finishing off the Guillotines squad. Leng may have survived, but it's implied he's next.
- Mundane Utility: One of the Guillotines kills time by throwing rocks across water, which skip about twenty times.
- Orphanage of Fear: The Guillotines Squad is chosen from orphans and trained to kill all their lives. In a huge subversion, the Guillotines squad turns out to be anything but apathetic in private (they're still killing machines mind you).
- Remake Cameo: More of a Remake Supporting Role for Wang Yu, the chief of the Guillotines squad.
- Show Within a Show: The shadow puppet shows about Tian Lang could count.
- The Smurfette Principle: The Guillotine squad's token Dark Action Girl Musen.
- So Last Season: Invoked as a plot point. The Qing Empire has been planning to phase out the Guillotines and introduce firearms.
- Technology Porn: How the flying guillotines work.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: One of the Guillotines gets pickpocketed, and responds violently - until he realises the bugger has several children to feed, and takes back just his ID, leaving them the money.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Tian Lang, claiming to be The Messiah, has long hair and facial hair that make him look like Jesus. There's even a robe that may remind some of the poster for The Greatest Story Ever Told. As if to nail it home, he's shown claiming he will return when they haul him off to be executed. (It's done with a jailbreak, but still.)