Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fake Plastic Arms

I just noticed that one of the greatest kung fu classics of all time is on tonight on SBS and can heartily recommend it to anyone able to stay up past midnight.

It's called One-Armed Boxer versus the Master of the Flying Guillotine - well, it's got lots of names but that's the one I know it by.

And it's just great.

And by great I mean pretty good and worth a watch, but not worth beheading yourself over if you miss it.

The master at the centre of these shenanigans is a crusty old villain with cotton-wool beard and eyebrows, which also prove his main acting talent. He's blind, so it's up to those constantly waggling eyebrows to convey the complete plausibility of his superhuman senses, which allow him to kill scores of nameless extras despite his visual impairment. His main weapon of choice, the flying guillotine, is a sort of beekeeper's hat on the end of a chain, but if you're the lucky one at the end of his hoop-toss the concealed razors inside the thing will soon have you running around with your shirt pulled up over your head pretending to have been decapitated.

You see, what really distinguishes this film from the hundreds of its ilk is this dedication to truly laughable prosthetic effects in all their frugal crapitude. It's not enough to indicate the master's blindness by hammy squinting or sell us on a bloody beheading by the shirt-over-the-head caper - this film also serves up a one-armed hero who plainly has a spare limb tucked behind his back (or in front for shots from behind) as well as another villain (there are plenty) whose powers of yoga (!) allow him to extend his arms Inspector Gadget-style while fighting. If the idea of a tall Indian dude whacking a couple of fake hands on poles at a little guy pretending to have one arm gets you all excited, this is one film you cannot miss.

You can if you want though.

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