From 1930 to 1985, the Shaw Brothers Studio was Hong Kong’s major production company. In the mid-1960’s, Shaw Brothers started making period kung fu movies. Many of them became classics and one of them was the 1975 movie The Flying Guillotine.

Kuan Tai Chen stars as Ma Teng, the inventor of the flying guillotine. He invented the device to assassinate people at long distances. The Emperor loves the device and assembles an elite squad of assassins to use the device to kill off his enemies. Ma Teng has regrets about being the Emperor’s person assassin and leaves.

The film was so successful that many imitators followed. The most famous is Jimmy Wang Yu’s sequel to his popular One-Armed Boxer movie, The Master of the Flying Guillotine. The 1976 movie is cheesier than the Shaw Brothers film, and with cheaper production values (Wang Yu had left Shaw and started making movies himself with minor success.)

A real sequel was made in 1978 that picked up after the first film but with an new and improved flying guillotine. While not great pieces of cinema, these are fun films to watch if you are in the right frame of mind.