The One Armed Executioner (1983)
By: Devon B. on November 9, 2011  | 
DVD
Monster Pictures | All Regions, NTSC | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 88 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Bobby A. Suarez
Starring: Chito Guerrero, Judy Kay, Joseph Zucchero, Nigel Hogge, Pete Cooper
Screenplay: Bobby A. Suarez
Country: Philippines
External Links
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The One Armed Executioner has been packaged with another Bobby Suarez film, Cleopatra Wong, for its US release. Local distributor Monster Pictures has picked up the films for their Australian release, but has divided the set into two individual DVDs. I wouldn't mind that normally, but unfortunately the price is almost as high for these single movie editions as it is for their US counterpart where you'd get both films.

As for the movie itself, well, it's a mighty fine slice of cinema indeed. In The One Armed Executioner, a Two Armed Interpol Cop is on to a drug ring. The head of the ring decides to make an example of him, so sends his goons after him. They wear pantyhose disguises (on their heads, they don't go in drag), but one of them manages to look exactly the same inside the pantyhose as out. I didn't even know that was possible! Anyway, the example is made and they kill The Two Armed Interpol Cop's wife, and then (given the film's title I'm assuming this isn't a spoiler) they turn him into a One Armed Interpol Cop. Having learned his lesson about meddling with drug rings, he leaves Interpol and becomes a One Armed Self Pitier. After a while of being down and out he decides to become a One Armed Martial Arts Student. Once he is trained he becomes...wait for it...THE ONE ARMED EXECUTIONER, and goes after the bad guys.

The One Armed Executioner is not as low rent as I was expecting given my previous exposure to Filipino films. They hired a helicopter for some chase scenes, and even blow up a small plane in the beginning of the film. Lovers of cheap sleaze don't fret, I'm not saying this movie has massive production value. The film appears to have been shot without sound and then dubbed afterwards. Most of the performers seem to be speaking English, but the audio is just a bit off which makes the film seem cheap and poorly dubbed despite being in its original language, and in one notable moment a guy delivers a line like he was Dr Zoidberg from Futurama. Let us also not forget the key special effect of the film, making the lead actor look like an amputee. Is it convincing? Well, it's as convincing as can be achieved by simply putting your arm under a bulky coat or shirt. It's not just the special effects that will leave you gasping in awe, because the plot has some wonderfully illogical moments, like when The One Armed Executioner decides to give a gun to a bad guy for no apparent reason. Maybe it's meant to be ironic because he's arming the guy who disarmed him? I'm not sure, but trying to make sense of this wacky movie hurts my head.

I wouldn't say The One Armed Executioner is action packed, but it's a lot of kooky fun even between the fights and executions. Highly recommended to fans of the Filipino amputee action genre.
Video
The One Armed Executioner looks heaps better than any other Filipino movie I've ever seen, but that doesn't mean it's pristine. There're specks and spots, colours get over saturated, grain is present, and clarity is lost in the blacks. Overall, I was surprised it looked as good as it did.
Audio
The audio is a 2.0 English track and is fine for what it is. This isn't going to wow you and has moments of distortion, but is acceptable given the source material.
Extra Features
The extras are the theatrical trailer and extended scenes. The extended scenes are where things get interesting. The movie has clearly been cut for violence, and the extended scenes allow you to see what went missing. Presumably these scenes were left out of the feature because suitable elements were not available to incorporate the footage back in to the film, but an optional branching version would've been appreciated. Oddly, I couldn't zoom through or pause or alter playback in any way after starting the extended scenes, though the disc did let me stop the scenes by going back to the main menu. The trailer was similarly locked, but wouldn't even let me go back to the menu.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Nonsensical plot, poor special FX and bizarre audio combine in a film that should delight fans of Filipino exploitationers. The DVD has the bare minimum of extras, and leaves off a few that are present on the US release, but since I care more about the movie than extras I wasn't too fussed about that. The real issue with this release is that someone could import the US set and get two films for about the same price as the single disc offered here, plus some extras.

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