Master of the Flying Guillotine DVD (Old School Kung Fu)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matthew Brown, Sep 12, 2002.

  1. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Supporting Actor

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    For those interested, I have a review of the new MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE DVD that came out very recently.
    Master of the Flying Guillotine (1974)
    Director - Jimmy Wang Yu
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    DVD Released by : Pathfinder Home Entertainment
    Player reviewed with : Malata DVD-N996
    Receiver reviewed with : Sony 925
    Features:
    Mandarin and English Soundtracks
    English and Spanish Subtitles
    Not Enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs
    U.S. release and U.S. restored version Trailer
    Original Trailer
    Audio Commentary By Film Critics Wade Major & Andy Klein
    Running Time : 93 mins.
    If you are in the mood for some classic Old School Kung Fu, MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE is the way to go. When his pupils are killed, an evil blind man seeks revenge on the rebel One Armed Boxer who murdered them. Disguised as a monk, he takes with him his Flying Guillotine, a device that he throws over his enemy's head and decapitates them. When he arrives in town searching for the One Armed Boxer, he recruits some foreigners who have gathered for a tournament to help him. Along the way, he decapitates anybody who has one arm. Even though he is greatly skilled, The One Armed Boxer does not join the tournament so he doesn't bring attention to himself. Unfortunately, he attends as a spectator and is spotted. He must use his Kung Fu as well as his wits to defeat his opponents. The final showdown is a battle between THE MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE and the ONE ARMED BOXER.
    It is a treat to see a movie like this presented in its original aspect ratio and original language. The music playing over the beginning credits sounds very modern but according to the commentary it was added for it's 1977 release. This is definitely a fun movie to watch. Jimmy Wang Yu is great as the One Armed Boxer. It's not because he is greatly skilled in Kung FU (he's not), but because of the ways in which he sets traps for his enemies. The movie is also funny because for being blind, the Master has no trouble aiming his flying guillotine. There also seems to be a lot of one-armed men walking around town. One of the oddest characters is the Yoga Master. He is able to extend his arms to attack his enemies. I never pictured Yoga being used to fight but it works for this guy. Other than this instance, the Kung Fu is more traditional except for Jimmy Wang Yu being able to walk up walls.
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    The picture quality is probably the best it can be all things considered. The movie is old and different sources were used in order to restore the print to its original running time. The movie is perfectly watchable but the print does have some damage. There are times when the picture gets very bright or a little blurry. Luckily, none of the flaws last very long. The transfer looks decent on the 47 inch screen even though its not anamorphic. The picture isn't great, but its better than most other Old School releases.
    The audio is either Mandarin or English. The Mandarin is the original language that was used for the movie. According to the commentary, this film was made when Mandarin was the predominate language being used in the movies. The actors spokes different languages while making the film but the intended language was Mandarin. Once again, considering the films age, the sound quality is good. There are some minor flaws like background noise but nothing too distracting. There is also an English soundtrack that reverts to Mandarin when the soundtrack is too damaged. Subtitles appear at these times.
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    Speaking of subtitles, they are easy to read and I didn't catch any spelling errors. They are timed well. The lettering is in a reddish orange color so they stand out against all backgrounds. It is also possible to read them while zooming in on the picture so you won't have to worry if you have a widescreen TV.
    There are some decent extras on this DVD. The commentary by Wade Major & Andy Klein is informative and gives a background of the movie and the time in which it was filmed. They give a lot of background information on Jimmy Wang Yu. Of course, nobody's perfect so they welcome e-mails telling them mistakes they may have made. There are also trailers, biographies, and a still gallery. This DVD restores 12 minutes of footage that hasn't been seen in a very long time.
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    If you are a fan of Old School Kung Fu movies, you know the deal. You buy a DVD and hope it's watchable. Many are pan and scanned, dubbed, and look like they came from a VHS master. That said, you will really appreciate how this DVD looks and sounds. It's not a perfect print, but it's the original aspect ratio and it's uncut. The flaws in the print are easily forgivable. The commentary is a plus. If you are a fan of this movie, the DVD is definitely worth getting. If you aren't into old style Kung Fu but like Jackie Chan's older movies, give this a shot. Jimmy Wang Yu isn't exactly Jackie Chan, but his unique way of defeating his enemies is unintentionally funny
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Ooh! When did this come out and what's the MSRP?

    Ha! I know Andy Klein (the guy on the commentary) and will have to razz him on this.
     
  3. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Supporting Actor

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    It should be available now. Hkflix.com has it for $20.95.


    Matt
     
  4. Chris Harrison

    Chris Harrison Stunt Coordinator

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    Did anyone pickup the new "Anniversary" edition that came out today? I'm just curious if it is a repackaging of the previous edition? Is there anything that warrants an upgrade? How is the transfer? Any extras?
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...v=glance&s=dvd
     
  5. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    According to that link, the video is anamorphic, so it must be new. It doesn't say anything about extras. All the user reviews are for the old edition, though.

    Strangely, the technical details say Region 2 on one line and Region 1 on another, and say both anamorphic and "16:9 pan & scan"! Weird.
     
  6. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Curious about this as well, I've seen the old version around, but haven't had a chance to pick it up. Seeing as I'm completing my Lone Wolf and Cub series this month, this would be a fun purchase.
     
  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I checked out DVDSOON, and it looks like the new one is shorter according to the, running 83 minutes. Can anyone confirm physically what the advantages of the new version?
     
  8. James 'Tiger' Lee

    James 'Tiger' Lee Second Unit

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    The later DVD is anamorphic but look a LOT worse than the 2002 DVD. It is uncut, like the earlier dvd, but the last reel is missing footage. For more information - Hong Kong Digital #252a: Master of the Flying Guillotine
    In Australia, Eastern Eye did a similar DVD. The Chinese version was the same as the 2004 Pathdinder DVD. However, a shorter 83 min International Version was included as an extra, sourced from a print far superior to either the 2002 or 2004 Pathfinder versions (for instance, the scene with the Indian fighter no longer has the severe strobing). BUT the film's score (pirated from various German electronica albums) was replaced for this version by new synth music.
    So in short, this is one instance where I reccomend the non-anamorphic dvd over the anamorphic!
     

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