This is another Shaw Brother historical fiction flick about Manchurian Emperor Yong Zheng's personal army of trained assassins known as the Flying Guillotin Troupe.
Yong Zheng was one of the Ching Dynasty's more capable rulers who restored peace stability and even prosperity to China but who achieved this by ruthlessly executing anyone suspected of spreading sedition or who were responsible for causing political unrest in the country.
To get rid of dissent in the ranks and any dissenting members of his family or ministers, he ordered one of his senior captains to set up a specially trained team of secret royal enforcers or assassins. This team came up with an unusual weapon called the flying guillotin which enabled them to mete out beheadings from 100 paces away.
There are no records of what the flying guillotin looked like but it is surmissed to have been a kind of razor sharp lasso type weapon which a trained assassin could throw from a 100 paces and once the lasso was secured round the victim's neck one pull of the chain would tighten the razor sharp 'noose' and the victim's head severed.
Here we see how the weapon is invented and the training of the first team of assassins. Focus is then on one team member called Ma Teng played by real kungfu action star Chen Kwan Tai(star of "Boxer from ShangTung", "Heroes Two","Challenge of the Masters", "The Blood Brothers","The Teahouse","Executioners from Shaolin","The Master", "Crippled Avengers", "Killer Constable" and the original "Iron Monkey").
Ma Teng is the most adept at using the flying guillotine but is soon disenchanted when he discovers the team is being used for political murders rather than to protect the Emperor against terrorists as he was formerly led to believe.
Things come to a head when Ma Teng's colleague and friend (played by Johnny Wang Yu from "Spiritual Boxer", "Executioners from Shaolin", "Dirty Ho" and "The Lady is Boss")is assassinated on the Emperor's orders after the latter had suffered a nervous breakdown and was heard shouting his objections to helping the Emperor commit murder against innocent people.
Ma Teng secretly leaves his team, marries and settles down as a farmer faraway from the Capital. Meanwhile the Emperor puts a price on his head and sends the Guillotin troupe after him.
As one expects from a Shaw Bro action movie, Ma Teng is forced into a show down with his own team mates to protect his wife and new born son.
Full of flying guillotin decapitations and duels between Ma Teng and his ex-colleagues, there is less hand to hand kungfu combat or not enuff for me anyway hence I've only awarded this classic 4 stars outta 5.
Dvd picture and sound quality excellent, multiaudio with English subtitles, what more can a Shaw movie collector want!