"The Guillotines": The French Revolution Gets "The Matrix" Treatment

The Guillotines This movie promises so much in the beginning! After a Star Wars-style opening crawl, we're treated to a nifty battle involving what we're led to believe is the titular weapon: A flying disk which attaches itself to the victim's neck and then decapitates them in a flurry of CGI, with countless pixels devoted to showing the inner workings of the device. It's fun and gory and sets up expectations that the rest of the movie doesn't really even try to live up to, instead concerning itself more with the drama and intrigue surrounding the now-disgraced assassins who use the weapon (the assassins themselves are the "Guillotines" of the title), and offering precious little guillotine-based head-choppin' action, which really doesn't seem like too much to ask from a movie called The Guillotines. Not that there isn't plenty of other action, including plenty of non-guillotine beheadings and at least one solid throat-punch, and the image of dozens of cannonballs streaking across the sky in the guillotine-free final battle is quite lovely. But The Guillotines' theme of older Chinese technologies being replaced by newer British technology at the turn of the 19th century was explored with more panache and energy in the recent Tai Chi Hero, which at least gave us a climax involving tai chi.

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