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Not Rated
Copyright 1974 Shaw Brothers
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Mau Tang - Loyal imperial guard until he decides the Emperor is a ruthless and stressed out asshole. (I said "stressed," not "stretched" - sicko.)
  • Yau Ping - Woman who falls in love with Mau Tang at first sight.
  • Sau San - Kid who is the product of Yau Ping falling in love with Mau Tang at first sight.
  • The Emperor - Stressed out asshole. (Look, we already went over this.)
  • Sing Ching - Servant to the Emperor who invents the flying guillotine for use as an assassin's tool. Loses his head to that very invention.
  • Su San Kun - Unprincipled man who is a spy for the Emperor, he uses this power to eliminate people who anger him. Guillotined by Mau Tang.
  • The Horde of Extras - If you were an extra in a martial arts film would you charge the main character?

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When the Emperor of China wants a new weapon all bets are off, though I am fairly certain a particular lineage of the French nobility would have shied away from the chosen device. The flying guillotine is remarkable, Sing Ching's weapon can be thrown a hundred yards, despite appearing to be made of brass and steel. (About ten pounds I would guess.) After it drops around the victim's neck one just pulls the chain and it flies back, carrying the head with it. A special detachment of guards are trained to perfection with the new weapon, once ready the Emperor sets them to assassinating every opponent or dissident at large. Watching a portly man run around without his head like a deceased chicken has a fair amount of entertainment value by the way. Mau Tang is blind to the amusing side of his work, he deserts the elite troop to ease his conscience. Being a hunted man for eternity was preferable to hanging around the palace though, just try putting a power hungry jerk on the left shoulder of a paranoid Emperor. Plenty of good people end up dead thanks to Su San Kun, he is constantly ratting them out as a traitor or some other bad influence. Our hero puts his time on the run to good use, starting a family, working his farm, and when the authorities close in he creates a weapon to battle the flying guillotine. (It looks like a metal umbrella.)

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • When the boss is angry with you try repeatedly smacking your head against the ground, cheers him up every time.
  • Avoid areas where people wearing blindfolds practice throwing sharp objects.
  • The pole vault was invented by Chinese guards deserting from unjust governments.
  • Wanted posters were less useful before photography.
  • Don't teach your kids how to walk in the middle of a road.
  • In feudal China stealing a baby would instantly attract a mob of angry farmers with hoes.
  • Swords can be thrown like spears.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 5 mins - Kinda reaffirms your belief in democracy doesn't it?
  • 15 mins - You idiot, I'd say it is more likely that someone has ordered or paid for her to sleep with you.
  • 36 mins - Huh, must be the door to the "Frankenstein" set.
  • 51 mins - Why don't you invent the plow or something?
  • 62 mins - Sick of eating rice?
  • 72 mins - All of China to search and they actually find your little hamlet.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note fguillotine1.wav Emperor: "You make one mistake and you lose your head!"
Green Music Note fguillotine2.wav Sing Ching: "What's all this about?"
Mau Tang: "This Buddha, my late mother gave it to me and he stepped on it; he insulted my mother. So I hit him!"
Green Music Note fguillotine3.wav Mau Tang: "We're not humans, just animals! We're only tools. Tools that kill for the Emperor!"
Green Music Note fguillotine4.wav Su San Kun: "All your family is dead by now; my job's to take your head."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipfguillotine1.mpg - 2.6m
Off with his head!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
Flying Guillotine
Reply #1. Posted on April 12, 2000, 12:11:05 PM by
The flying guilotine resembles a device used in _Heroic Trio_ (good Hong Kong flick).  I wonder HT got the idea from this movie.  Anyone know?
Flying Guillotine
Reply #2. Posted on April 19, 2000, 02:25:35 PM by Paul Westbrook
Thesae martial arts movies have a special place in my heart, and this one is no exception. Talk about violent, intense action. That's what makes these films woth watching.
Flying Guillotine
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Muhammad J. Fox
     I'm very glad this classic can be bought these days. I remember watching this movie on tv as a child along with "the 5 deadly venoms". They don't make martial arts movies like they used to.
Flying Guillotine
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Hangman (Victor)
 The Flying Guillotine is one of the most hideous devices ever seen. The only thing I've regretted is that no one have the interest to make a modern remake of this movie. Three great candidates for a remake are: Jet Lee, Vincent Zchao & James wong. I think there are about five prequels so far. These are: Flying Guillotine, Fatal Flying Guillotine, Master Of The Flying Guillotine, Shaolin Silver Spear & Heroic Trio I. The Silver Spear is the hardest to find.
Flying Guillotine
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Jeffrey Bisti
We bought this movie along with three other high-quality flicks from our local flea market, and we plan on having a little get together to watch it tonight after The Simpsons. The videos on this site helped us stir up interest among friends... I'll let you know how it goes.
Flying Guillotine
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Gabe Kelly
I remember this flick back when I was five years old. I also remember The Fatal Flying Guillotine, which I own, and Master of the Flying Guillotine, which, by request of the Almighty Martial Arts Immortals (Wong-Fei Hung, Bruce Lee, Lam Sai Wing, et al.), is being re-released to theaters in June. Let's hope the good times keep rolling a-head. (Nyuk, Nyuk,Nyuk...)
Flying Guillotine
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Marc Ferriere
This movie is pretty passable.   I kinda wish that the Emperor got his, though.   The Emperor in this movie is the biggest freakin' cock.   I mean, he kicks you in the face, and that's if he LIKES you!    Don't get this one expecting Venoms-quality of kung fu, though.   There are about 4 lamely choreographed fight scenes and the rest is all heads-a-poppin.   Good stuff and good Shaw Brothers gore.
Flying Guillotine
Reply #8. Posted on December 03, 2001, 11:37:25 PM by Briansan
As someone pointed out above, there are actually four sequels featuring the flying guillotine. If you ever want to be an assasin, the FG is a good choice considering the instant feedback on whether you made the right hit or not !
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