Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Master Of The Flying Guillotine (Pathfinder DVD)

Master Of The Flying Guillotine


Picture:  C-     Sound:  C-     Extras:  C-     Film:  C+



Master Of The Flying Guillotine (1975) is an outrageous, action packed, over the top, campy, kung fu gem for viewers that are high on action, low on plot, thirsty for blood, and enjoy a good laugh or two.  After the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice set the precedent of the idea of seeing a training school, and in widescreen scope at that, the Karate/Kung-Fu cycle of the early 1970s soon tried to top it as soon as it kicked in.


When a one-armed boxer kills the disciples of Fung Sheng Wu Chi, the master of the flying guillotine, he sets out to extract revenge for their untimely demise.  Though blind, his senses function at a superhuman level.  Add to that the deadly flying guillotine, a weapon that severs and returns the head of its victim to the bearer, and he becomes a fearsome force to recon with.


The one-armed boxer, played by Jimmy Wang Yu, is equally astonishing, performing miracles of his own to the amazement of his students.  Confident that he is the greatest fighter, they try to convince him to enter a martial arts tournament in which death is a highly likely conclusion.  Believing kung fu to be for personal growth, he is not swayed by the glory of championships.  Still, he tells his students that he and they can go as spectators. Does a great fighter in a movie like this actually believe he's going to just stay on the sidelines?  Needless to say, carnage ensues and the one-armed boxer eventually meets face to face with the master of the flying guillotine.


The highlight of the film is the tournament between competitors of many different martial arts disciplines.  The fights are very imaginative, if nowhere near realistic, and would make you wonder why anyone would ever do this, except that you are too engrossed in the action to be thinking at all.  In an insightful move, individual fights can be summoned by using the chapter selection feature of the DVD.  Kudos to the person who knows what a viewer wants!


It would be unfair to try to rate actor performances or directorial ability for a film of this caliber.  Neither seems to be important to the overall effectiveness, although I guess it could be argued that a completely inept director could fail to capture the essence of what makes this film work. 


The letterboxed 2.35 X 1 image still has problems, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono dubs barely fare better, both somewhat lacking but is somewhat expected for a film that's twenty-five years old and not shot on the highest grade film stock.  Remarkably, the film looked much worse in older clips and stock footage, but some of the color is good, even when other aspects do not come together as well.  Extras include bios, trailers, production credits, a still gallery, and an audio commentary by film critics Wade Major and Andy Klein. To avoid the ever present bad dubbing, be sure to set the language option to Mandarin with English subtitles.


Master Of The Flying Guillotine is not a film I would recommend for everyone, but if you want a fist fighting, kick flying, head decapitating good time, you wouldn't want to miss this!



-   Michael M. Burkett


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com