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Kung Fu Theater – MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE

MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE Jimmy Wang Wu flicks the bird at the Shaw Brothers – and we get an over the top kung fu classic.

Jimmy Wang Yu was the original kung fu superstar. An ex-swimming champion with no martial arts training, he helped propel the Shaw Bros. studio through the stratosphere in 1967 with his role as The One Armed Swordsman. What he lacked with his primitive kung fu – which was plodding and full of telegraphed punches and awkward stances – he made up for in charisma and a talent for glaring, glowering, scowling, brooding, and generally looking tough (or constipated). He was difficult to work with, and he and the Shaw Bros. soon found themselves parting ways. So what does Jimmy do? He makes movies independently, starring himself, most of them blatantly ripping off his former studio. Enter MOTFG – a movie where he not only reprises his one-armed boxer persona but also borrows the flying guillotine concept from Ho Menga’s movie of the same year. As a director, Jimmy Wang Yu is fantastic, especially at crafting inventive special effects, and he knows how to give the people what they want… in this case blind assassins, Thai and Indian stereotypes (a Swami with limbs that can stretch out a’la plastic man), and a plethora of decapitations. It’s fun, oftentimes funny, and highly recommended as a starting point for those seeking over-the-top pulpy martial arts movies.

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