The Guillotines is a kung fu film released in 2012, loosely based on Master of the Flying Guillotine. This time 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.
This film provides examples of:
- 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:Tian Lang: 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.
- Chekhov'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.
- 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 a Messianic Archetype, 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.)