The next disc in this fantastic Blu-ray box set from Arrow is two films from what fans call The Venoms mob, the one that started it all Five Venoms (1978) and from the same year Crippled Avengers.
In the Five Venoms, (also known as The Five Deadly Venoms)The final student of a dying martial arts teacher is instructed to locate his previous five students, all masters of a different style, Toad, Centipede, Snake, Lizard, and Scorpion, and defeat any evil ones among them. But things are more complicated than they seem as double-cross and greed rears its ugly head.
This more than any other Venoms film concentrates a lot more on the plot as well as intricate fight scenes. The fighting styles used are very unusual in their execution, but show off the various skills of the actors involved. The way some bad guys in the film secretly kill off anyone who gets in their way is very gruesome at times, but the plot reaches an exciting and action-packed finale.
Crippled Avengers made the same year with mostly the same cast is one of the most fun and bizarre of all the Venoms films and comes across as a superhero underdog movie and has stuff you would only see in a Kung Fu film from this period.
Master Tao and his son Tao Sheng, a powerful father-son duo of martial artists who were masters of the Tiger Style of kung fu, are indiscriminately terrorizing a village after a clan had years earlier chopped off his son’s arms and wife’s /mother’s legs in a sneak attack. Four warriors who tried to challenge them end up being crippled, losing their sanity, sight, hearing, and speech. After finding one of their old masters, they will undergo a rigorous training regime to make themselves the best-crippled warriors, in order to get revenge.
Subtle it isn’t, but it is great fun, with many fantastic fight scenes scattered through the whole film, getting to show the actor’s martial arts and acrobatic skills to full effect. Chen Kuan Tai plays the evil Tiger Claw villain with glee, and again the setup for the finale is superbly staged.
The transfer on both films, like all those in this set is lovingly remastered in 2K with a great overall appearance, colours are striking and blacks solid. You have the choice of Mandarin, Cantonese (Five Venoms only) or English dubbed mono for the audio, which is clean and clear.
Some great extras which include –
- Brand new commentary on The Five Venoms by critic Simon Abrams
- Interview with star Lo Meng, filmed in 2003 by Frédéric Ambroisine
- Chang Cheh: The Master, a featurette about the director produced by Celestial Pictures in 2003
- Hong Kong and US theatrical trailers for The Five Venoms
- Hong Kong theatrical trailer for Crippled Avengers
- Image galleries for both films
Another great disc from one of the finest box sets to come out in 2021, with superb remastered uncut prints and interesting extras.
FILMS : (FV) 7.5 (CA) 8.5 PICTURE : 8 AUDIO : 7.5 EXTRAS : 8