The Guillotines – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Action
Director: Wai-Keung Lau
Distributor: Splendid Film

The Guillotines – Movie Review

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7.1
Good: Action, Drama, Likeable leading characters
Bad: A lack of information, Special effects
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After discussing the traits of the legendary ninja warriors in Ninja2: Shadow of a Tear, it’s now time for another band of assassins that prefer to strike in the dead of the night aswell, namely ‘The Guillotines’. Immerse yourself in the story of an unlikely band of brothers, that are soon to turn from predator into prey.

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It’s the start of the Qing-Dynasty and the people of the land are starting to show their discontent with the way their emperor treats them. The Han-Chinese citizens are treated as slaves or simply inferior compared to the ‘normal’ Chinese population. A group of rebels that consist out of Han-Chinese, named the Shepards are rising up to overthrow the current government, to reach equality. The leader of the pack, Wolf is a man that should not be underestimated.

These attacks on the empire call for drastic measurements and thus the emperial squad of assassins gets called in to mop up the mess. This troupe consists out of the best assassins, that are known to be able to kill their opponents from ’10 paces away’ by severing the heads of their victims. When confronting Wolf, they are able to capture him alive, to execute him the following day.

Wolf confronts the leader of the pack of Guillotines, by telling him he would die by his hands but that the time was not right, just yet. It seems the rebel leader still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Leng, the man who leads the Guillotines decides to keep a close eye on the planned execution the following day and with good reason. Wolf’s disciples decide to free him, whilst capturing Musen, a Guillotine who happens to be the daughter of the man who trained the troupe.

Leng receives the task of getting Musen back, be it dead or alive, seeing they don’t know whether she is still alive or not. His task is one that is followed closely by the emperor himself and thus an imperial escort is assigned to accompany this special band of brothers. The man accompanying the group is no other than the man who was handpicked together with Leng, to accompany and serve the emperor for their entire lives. Being brothers by name, does not mean it’s a happy get-together.

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Learning the truth, Leng is conflicted with many choices he has to make on the way. He has learned that the Guillotines will soon be replaced by a more modern rifle-squad that is able to conquer entire villages at a time and thus showing the power of the emperor. Leng is determined to show that the Guillotines still have their uses but his so called brother does not see it the same way.

Musen who is still alive is offered as a trade for Leng, who is going to accept the offer. Whilst the trade-off takes place it is clear that Wolf might be the only one that keeps up his end of the bargain, seeing the emperor wishes to dispose the Guillotines in the most brutal way possible. Betrayal and the rebels might become the only friends Leng still have left. This is where the predator becomes the prey and the true story starts to unfold.

The flow of the movie is one that is typical in many asian movies, namely a fairly slow beginning with a lot of action at the end of the movie. The information is divided scarcely and this is sometimes quite regrettable, seeing you will not truly get to know the rest of the Guillotines, except for Musen and Leng. Which are both performed in a great fashion. Both characters seem to have no true emotions at first, but finally show a lot of heart, which creates a certain attachment.

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A lot of special effects and action scenes were to be found in the movie, and it was clear that the movie was designed to be viewed in 3D, which is sadly still not possible for a lot of people. A lot of the weaponry was ‘thrown’ at the screen to create a more modern feeling, and perhaps more feeling with the movie. Sadly when watching the movie in 2D, it was clear that not every special effect was executed in such a great way.

Acting performances were great, as is typical with Asian movies of this proportion. Not only the environments, but the actors do their part in creating a typical authentic atmosphere for the day and age the movie finds itself in.

Conclusion

The Guillotines proves to be a great movie for Asian movie enthusiasts, with a few flaws. You’ll be treated to a fairly predictable story, with a few surprises during the course of the movie. The movie itself does not really have any dull moments and will be fun for those who want a little touch of drama mixed with their dose of action.

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