Friday, October 01, 2004

UNEXPECTED PLEASURE: Is flipping through the cable channels and finding Master of the Flying Guillotine on. I only caught about half of it. There's this tournament, see, with all these martial arts types fighting each other. To the DEATH! Except this blind monk shows up with a swastika on his chest and who is master of a flying guillotine, which does not resemble an actual guillotine but functions like one: it removes people's heads. Plus there's this "Indian" fighter (a Chinese guy in brownface; at least as offensive as Christopher Lee playing Fu Manchu, right?) whose arms stretch out like Dhalsim in Streetfighter, if you were wondering where Capcom got that from. The hero is a one-armed fighter who runs a kung fu school and manages to not let most of his students get killed--unusual for this type of movie in my experience. He has a cunning plan for defeating the blind guy, which sound not too tough but remember this is a kung fu blind guy. He's like Matt Murdock without the radioactivity.

I wish I knew more about Shaw Brothers. So far I've seen this, Five Deadly Venoms, and The Kid With the Golden Arm, all acknowledged classics. But there's a zillion Shaw Brothers movies out there and I get the feeling if I scratch the surface even slightly, I'll find a whole lot of crap. I have not been able to locate any Shaw Brothers must-see list thus far, besides the above, so--so my knowledge remains cursory. At least I've seen the classics.

And I have to say if you're complaining about not seeing subtitled versions of these things, or thinking the classic kung-fu style dubs are an artistic violation, you're barking up the wrong tree. Shaw Brothers movies should always be in the vernacular.

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