Quentin Tarantino lists Flying Guillotine
as one of his favorite films, and its influence can be seen elsewhere as well.
Along with inspiring a 2012 remake of the movie, there were multiple sequels
released in Hong Kong during the 1970s. The first and most recognizable of
these was Flying Guillotine Part II, also released as Palace Carnage.
This film directed by Cheng Kang and Hua Shan brought back characters from the
first film for a new conflict, and plenty more decapitations.
Now an outlaw
rebel, Ma Teng (Ti Lung) has developed a way to counter the previously
undefeated flying guillotine weapons and joins a group of female freedom
fighters to go up against the villainous emperor Chen-feng Kang (Wei Hung).
When the emperor realizes his prized weapon can be defeated, he insists that
Yung Cheng (Ku Feng) create a new version able to defeat the freedom fighters.
He also has a squad of female assassins trained to use them.
As with many of
these Shaw Brothers classics, the film builds towards an inevitable
action-packed showdown. This is where the martial arts skills and choreography
are put on display. While Flying Guillotine Part II has a solid
storyline, this climactic battle is still the highlight. It is a violent
ballet, complete with carnage that is somehow simultaneously beautiful to
watch. Even more beautiful in the 88 Films Blu-ray release of the classic
martial arts film, which is the sharpest presentation of the film I have seen.
The reason the
film looks so good is because a high definition transfer was taken from the
original negative in 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the release. Both the English language
dubbed audio and the original Mandarin version are available in 2.0 Mono. There
is also an optional commentary track with Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne
Venema, and the special features have the film’s original theatrical trailer.
content on the disc, this new release contains original artwork by R.P “Kung Fu
Bob” O’Brien, which is featured on the carboard sleeve. The insert also has
this newly commissioned artwork on one side, with the original poster on the opposite
side. The package comes with a reversible mini poster containing both versions
as well. The package is made complete with a booklet with notes on the film
from Barry Forshaw and still photos from the production.
Special Features: 7/10