As a society, we love competition. Team sports like football dominate the airwaves during the fall and winter months, and even mundane exercises in statistical analysis such as the sport of baseball can even draw in a crowd. But more important than the spirit of competition, we as a society enjoy watching two powerhouses beat the living shit out of each other, mano-a-mano. Even though we know the outcome is scripted, wrestling packs in the audience year after year precisely because it features the aforementioned shitkicking.
This tradition carries over in films as well. Long after both the Aliens and Predator franchises fizzled out, they were resurrected to great financial success in the terrible Alien Vs. Predator franchise. The same goes for Freddy Vs. Jason. But this tradition goes way back (and had better results) in Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman and, more directly related to this review, Master of the Flying Guillotine.
A follow-up to both The Flying Guillotine and The One-Armed Boxer, this film brings two of the more successful kung-fu franchises of the 70’s together in an all-out cross-studio battle royale. Imagine if it was Aliens Vs. Terminator, and you get the idea.
The plot is simple enough: While fighting for freedom in his last appearance, The One-Armed Boxer killed two Imperial assassins that happened to be students of the fore-mentioned Master of the Flying thingamagiggie, who by-the-way, happens to be a blind badass of beastly brutality. Yes friends, this classic martial arts film’s best fighters are both handicapped!
To derail for a moment: this does lead one to consider how much cooler the Special Olympics would be if they had weapons.
Anyhow, seeing as how the Assassin is blind, and has no idea what the One-Armed Boxer looks like, he spends much the rest of the film randomly killing every one armed man he comes across (and at least one chicken). The best part is that every time he throws his whirling dervish of death, it makes a sound like a bullet ricocheting off a rock.
Meanwhile, the O.A. Boxer gets invited to a Tournament to show off his…uh…one-armed boxing. Seriously, his fighting style is predicated on being of one arm, yet all of his students have two. Does his graduation ceremony involve an axe?
Declining to fight in the tournament, O.A.B. instead chooses to take his students along on a field trip to see some cool shitkicking. At the tourney we get to see some cool monkey fighting, some tonfas, a guy with killer hair, and the guy who would later inspire Capcom to create Dhalsim in Street Fighter II. All of this before the Master-of-the-Swastika-Wearing-Flying-Guillotine shows up and starts killing everything that makes too much noise when it moves, forcing the O.A.B. into a confrontation that is both spectacular and wall-crawly (did I mention he is the kung-fu Spider-Man?).
Hands-down, this is one of the greatest of the early martial arts movies, and is a must for any Cavalcade event featuring flying fists of fury.