I’ll give another little review, so Vic doesn’t feel too lonely in here
Well, I’ve been watching a lot of Kung Fu films here lately, so I’ll post about one of my newer faves.
Crippled Avengers/Return of the Five Deadly Venoms ( 1978 )
Despite the alternate title, this film is not a direct sequel to Five Deadly Venoms. It does feature all five of the original venoms, but the story has nothing to do with it.
The film begins with a group of men breaking into a temple. Once inside they find that the man who owns the temple, whom they are trying to kill, isn’t there. They do find the man’s wife and son though. So, they decide to kill them both. They do this by chopping off the woman’s legs, and the boys arms. The woman dies immediately but the son lives. The armless boy’s father arrives right after the dismemberment and kills the assassins with his “Tiger Strike” kung fu (in only three strokes as well). After this the father consoles his son by promising that he will have a blacksmith mend him Iron arms and that he will practice kung fu until he is invincible. We then skip forward a few years and see that the father has fulfilled his promises. The son now has a set of iron arms (that even shoot darts), and his kung fu skills are unmatched. Only thing is the father seems to have gone a little power mad since his son is the most powerful throughout the land. Everyone in town fears them and he uses this to his gain. Also, instead of having his son kill his opponents like a nice martial artist, he has them crippled.
So, through various events the old man cripples four innocent men, each with there own disability. One man becomes blind, one man looses his ability to hear and speak, one man looses his legs, and one man has his head so badly squeezed that he becomes an idiot. Now the four men must band together and with the help of the “Idiot” man’s master, they practice kung fu utilizing what ability’s they still have to take down the evil man and his iron armed son!
This is exactly why I love Chang Cheh’s films. The gimmick like plot devices. Five Deadly Venoms had the poisons, The Kid with the Golden Arms had the Chi Saw gang (among others), Flag of Iron had the Spearman and the Flags, Chinese Super Ninjas had those insane Ninja battles, and Crippled Avengers has the five crippleds. The gimmicks aren’t a bad thing, it’s a lot better than your average Master Killer style rip off, and they lead to some hella cool fight scenes.
My favorite of the crippled styles would be the guy with no legs. When he begins his training he has a pair of iron legs made and in one scene he kicks through a guys stomach and his intestines spill out. Just awesome! I would have to say this film is probably my second favorite film in which the Venoms team up. The first being Five Deadly Venoms of course. Still, Crippled Avengers is a damn fine flick and stands up well to most any other kung fu classics. I highly recommend it.