Beyond time? What in hell...?
Well, I finally got a chance to watch Master of the Flying Guillotine, also known as One-Armed Boxer 2, or Master of the Flying Guillotine vs. the One-Armed Boxer. It\'s a classic tale of man\'s inhumanity to one-armed man, and I\'ve had it from Netflix for so long that I could have bought it many times over. Hell, judging from the production values, I could probably have financed it many times over.
Actually, that\'s unfair--the movie really looked pretty good for a 1975 \"chop socky\" flick. The martial artists are great--there\'s plenty of crazy wire-work wuxia, but most of the stunts seem to be done legitimately. The overdubbing is terrible, but the sound track is great. Actually it was surprisingly good, and I was startled to see that it featured Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk. Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk were even more surprised when they found out!
Sunday: Yeah, I\'ll watch for a bit. I\'ll have to take a break in the middle, but no need to pause it. If I\'m even still watching...
The movie starts, with three separate title screens, one for each title under which the movie was originally released.
We see Fun Sheng Wu Chi, the blind assassin and titular Master of the Flying Guillotine (at least, in those versions called Master of the Flying Guillotine and not One-Armed Boxer 2) and he is so angry! So angry that leaps straight up, through his roof, and out of his house. And then throws a bomb into it, which explodes into flame.
Me: Did he mean to do that? I mean, he is blind so... maybe he couldn\'t find the door? Does he know that he just set fire to his own house?
Now we switch to Master Liu Ti Lung, the titular One-Armed Boxer (er, in the versions of the film that are called The One Armed Boxer vs. Master of the Flying Guillotine) who is teaching his students a lesson in the fine art of Kung Fu. What exciting, exotic moves will he demonstrate?!
\"Today I\'m going to teach you something new. The technique of jumping.\"
Although, to be fair, it is pretty awesome when he does it (it involves crawling along the ceiling).
What the heck? The movie has suddenly switched from English dubbing to Original Chinese! Fortunately, there are now subtitles. Apparently this section simply can\'t be translated by Western voice actors.
Ooh! And now we\'re back to Dubbed English again!
I actually prefer the dubbing, because the fellow overdubbing Master Liu Ti Lung sounds exactly like Ian Chesterton in the original Dr. Who serials. \"Barbara, Doctor, allow me to demonstrate my technique of jumping!\"
Oh, I\'ve just realized that I never described the \"most gruesome weapon ever conceived\". It is basically a hat on a string. When thrown just right, it lands on your head, a ring of blades falls around your neck, and whoosh done. Apparently this is an unstoppable device.
Me: Hey, IMDB says there\'s a character called \"Win-Without-a-Knife Yakuma\". What an awesome name!
Sunday: I lied--please pause it. The bad wire-work was one thing, but this sudden language switching puts this movie into a class all it\'s own!
Proving that Fun Sheng Wu Chi isn\'t really all that fun:
Innkeeper: He wasn\'t the one-armed boxer, he was just a bum!
Fun Sheng: I don\'t care who he was. I intend to kill every one-armed man I come across.
Me: This is like the Fugative, but AWESOMER!
Ok, and now there is one of those cool no-holds-barred, any style Martial Arts tournaments to the death. Right on!
Announcer: Fighter #2 is dead. Fighter #1 is the winner!
Fighter #1: Dies from wounds.
Announcer: They are both winners! Carry the winners off the field.
Sunday: Now that\'s looking at the glass half full!
The next two fighters enters the ring.
Me: Yay, it\'s Wins-Without-a-Knife Yakuma! You know, if he pulls out a knife, I\'ll be really disappointed.
WWaK Yakuma: Pulls out a knife
Sunday: I\'m not upset that he pulled a knife--I mean, he\'s a bad guy, bad guys cheat. But he pulled out his knife in the very first fight! He basically always wins with a knife!
Me: It\'s like calling a bald man \"Curly\", I guess?
Enter the next two fighters.
\"Tornado of Knives\" Lee Kun--Also a cool name. Pity he has to fight a master of Yogic magic who can extend his arms until they are six feet long. Which, by the way, is awesome, and completely terrifying.
Win-Without-a-Knife kidnaps? rescues? Chang Chia Yu, the only woman in China (apparently), and takes her to his underground lair, where he attempts to comfort? taunt? her. Well, whatever he did, it didn\'t involve a knife, so that counts for something.
WWaK Yakuma: You father is dead, which means he can never return. Therefore, there is no reason to cry. Think of something else.
Chang Chia Yu: I already have. I can\'t think of anything else!
A bunch of stuff happens. It is really very cool--you should check it out! And then, the finale:
The One-Armed Boxer runs into a room full of birds, which does, in fact, confound the Blind Guillotine Master, briefly. Awesome slow-motion shot of the pigeons flying about and the Master of the Flying Guillotine looking perplexed... until he kicks the Boxer through the wall and into Ye Olde Coffin Shop.
The coffin shop that was purchased earlier, and painstakingly outfitted with booby traps--by which I mean spring-loaded catapults that launch axes. The Blind Master was really not expecting this! However, he is also apparently immune to axes. Still, our hero finally breaks that damned flying guillotine!
Me: Doesn\'t this mean that the Old Blind Guillotine Master is now just an Old Blind Fellow?
The Old Blind Fellow takes half a dozen axes to the chest and then beats the holy hell out of his opponent.
Me: Oh. Never mind.
More awesome fighting, and then the One-Armed Boxer punches an axe straight through the Master of the Guillotine. And then uppercuts him. Through the roof. And into a coffin!!!
Me: And the victor is the One-Armed Boxer, Mr. Wins-Without-Axes!