Flying Guillotine

Flying Guillotine

Director: Ho Meng-hua

Cast: Chen Kuan-Tai, Ku Feng, Frankie Wei

     
 

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This Shaw Brothers production introduced the world to one of the most memorably bizarre weapons to ever appear in a martial arts film. Flying Guillotine was inspired by a historical account of the Manchu dynasty and revolves around the development of the title weapon, which is created by general Xin Kang (Ku Feng) to appease an emperor

Overview

This Shaw Brothers production introduced the world to one of the most memorably bizarre weapons to ever appear in a martial arts film. Flying Guillotine was inspired by a historical account of the Manchu dynasty and revolves around the development of the title weapon, which is created by general Xin Kang (Ku Feng) to appease an emperor who requests a device that will allow him to quietly dispatch his enemies. Ma Teng (Chen Kuan-Tai) is enlisted to become part of an elite squad trained to use the weapon and quickly excels. However, he finds himself on the run when rival student Xu Shuang-kun (Frankie Wai) plots against him. Ma Teng finds happiness for a short while by living in seclusion with street performer Yu Ping (Lau Ng-Kei) but is ultimately forced to square off with the gang of killers he once belonged to. Flying Guillotine was a big hit for Shaw Brothers, inspiring two follow-ups (Flying Guillotine II and The Vengeful Beauty) as well as a slew of imitators like Master of the Flying Guillotine. It remains a cult favorite today amongst martial arts film fans and is considered by many to be one of the all-time Shaw Brothers classics. ~ Donald Guarisco

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Despite the gimmick inherent in the title of the weapon, Flying Guillotine is no comic-book chop socky. In fact, this a surprisingly serious and dramatic film that values plot and theme as much as it does action. At its heart is a strong script by veteran Shaw Brothers scribe Ni Kuang; some might complain that the script doesn't spend enough time on characterization, but Kuang dishes out his complex plot with verve and an impressive sense of dramatic momentum. He also uses the story to comment on the corrosive nature of power and how an overabundance of ambition can bring out the worst in people. Director Ho Meng-Hua keeps the plot rolling in a stylish manner, mounting the film with skill and achieving an impressively epic look. His work shines during the set pieces, the best being a moment where Lau Ng-Kei distracts a group of townspeople with a song-and-dance routine while Chen Kuan-Tai takes on a pair of assassins in a nearby alley. Ho also gets strong performances from his cast: Chen makes an appealing hero and Frankie Wai is easy to hate as his selfish rival. However, the best performance comes from Ku Feng as Xin Feng, a basically decent man who allows fear to drive him to desperate extremes. All in all, Flying Guillotine deserves its reputation as a Shaw Brothers classic and is well worth the time for fans of Chinese action film fare.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/01/2012
UPC:
0639767538312
Original Release:
1975
Source:
Desert Island Films
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
53,723

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