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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.
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.
- Myth Busters took a crack at creating a functional Flying Guillotine as well. Tory actually gets one to work, though it's not nearly as elegant.
- 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