The Shaw Brothers The Flying Guillotine is set during the Ching Dynasty with a paranoid Emperor Yung Cheng who believes everyone is out to get him. One of his officials Chief Xin Kang comes up with a weapon that can behead people from a distance of a hundred yards. The Emperor has him recruit twelve of the best palace guards to perfect the use of this weapon to kill ‘traitors’ in secret. In effect a secret assassin squad! However a few members of the 12 have misgivings!
This movie is quite good. Part intrigue, part horror and part drama. There is some nice character development with the main five characters especially with Chen Kuan-Tai’s character Ma Tang and his wife played by Lau Ng-Kei. Even a few of the side characters tend to get more screen time as we learn just a little about them. This, as far as I can tell, is the first of the Guillotine movies. However it is not as famous as many of its predecessors such as Masters of the Flying Guillotine which came out a year later.
Chen Kuan-Tai (The Duel, The Water Margin, The Iron Monkey 1977, Dragon Tiger Gate, 14 Blades) as Ma Tang
Lau Ng-Kei (Trilogy of Swordsmanship, The Fourteen Amazons) as Mrs. Ma Yu-Ping
Kong Yeung (The Spiritual Boxer, The Idiot Swordsman) as Emperor Yung Cheng
Ai Ti as Wanzhu the girlfriend to Xie Tianfu
Wong Yu as Xie Tianfu
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