“The Flying Guillotine” is a Shaw Brothers martial arts classic from 1975 directed by Ho Meng-Hua. “The Flying Guillotine” stars Chen Kuan-tai, Wong Yue, Wei Hung and Ku Feng and was recently released on Blu-ray from Shout Factory as part of their Shaw Brothers Classics Vol 2 box set collection.
This iconic cinematic gem, often imitated but never truly duplicated, deals with ambition, greed, and deception, all under the watchful eye of a power-hungry Emperor. At its core, this tale revolves around the Emperor’s audacious creation of a new assassin gang, meticulously trained in the deadly art of the flying guillotines. As intrigue and treachery weave their intricate web, Chen Kuan-tai’s character finds himself ensnared in a world of corruption and moral decay.
A pivotal moment transpires when Chen bears witness to the Emperor’s malevolent intentions, compelling him to defect from the assassin gang. From this point on, our hero becomes a hunted man, driven by the indomitable will to protect his family and bring an end to the tyranny of the flying guillotine.
While the action sequences are often brief, the brilliance of “The Flying Guillotine” lies in its masterfully crafted storyline. The narrative is a testament to meticulous storytelling, offering viewers a well-defined plot that is both accessible and engrossing. As the story unfolds, audiences are treated to an abundance of dramatic beheadings, a hallmark of the film’s visceral impact.