That Wu Du that You Do

Put on your secret kung fu master mask, because The 5 Deadly Venoms is the Greatest Movie EVER!

Review in a Nutshell:  One part Agatha Christie, one part violent gimmick kung fu, 5 Deadly Venoms is a classic that showcases the skills of some of the best martial arts actors to grace the silver screen.

This Movie Contains Stuff We Completely Forgot to Mention:

Throat Hook.

Brain Pin.

Ear Trauma.

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13 Responses

  1. Looks like a rough movie. Thanks for another great review have a Happy New Year. Hopefully 2010 will finally see that review of Death Ring I’ve been waiting for. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106688/

  2. “Tying to find my weak spot, and still you fail. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

  3. The guy with the beard…BEST ‘get out of jail’ laugh ever.

  4. The speed issue you mention on a lot of films sounds like you’re watching a lot of PAL conversions. Because film is 24fps and PAL video (used in mainland China, Australia, and Europe) is 25fps, it’s common for films to be sped up 4% and transferred at 25fps vs. dealing with all the funky interlacing issues that happen with traditional NTSC transfers. Hence the motion being quicker and the audio sounding slightly pitched up (though these days it’s easy to adjust that digitally.) On the upside: film is shorter. Handy with long epics. On the downside: Looks nasty converting PAL -> NTSC because of artificing and frame blurring (compare UK classic Dr Who on DVD with US). When in doubt, find the PAL original.

  5. Listening to you guys for the last few episodes(courtesy of Daryl Surat) and regarding this one.

    I’m a guy from Asia(Malaysia,to be exact) and let me say this.Every Saturday in the afternoon,a national t.v. station of ours would air Shaw Brothers movies,no matter kung-fu,musicals,dramas and everything else.And don’t get me started on how nearly every Chinese person would flock to any cinema,no matter how shitty it was,just to see Lau Kar Fai beat the living crap out of anyone for a couple of hours.

    Also,no matter how Jet Li looks stupid wearing a chicken suit fighting a centipede lion dancing troupe,it was darn cool back then and still is.

  6. I really think the reason Five Deadly Venoms made it so big and is still remembered so well (internationally anyway, it wasn’t a big deal in HK) is solely due to timing; it was one of the first Shaw Brothers kung fu movies to come out in the US and is commonly cited as the first kung fu movie people had ever seen before in the wake of Bruce Lee’s movies. Nobody had seen anything quite like it, and the blaxsploitation crowd / “urban market” was keen on this world of movies where non-white leads were portrayed as strong and capable. The perception that these movies were primarily for “the urban market” [note: this is marketing jargon for “black people”] is why kung fu movies got such an absolutely rotten treatment in this country until the last few years.

    The mystery plot (which honestly, I skip past), costume design, and athleticism of the cast (they’re all stuntmen) certainly stand out, but the film itself is pretty light on action and so I actually…never really cared for it too much. I was never huge into Kid With the Golden Arm either, which also starred all these guys, for similar reasons. However, Crippled Avengers aka Return of the Five Deadly Venoms is undeniably the Greatest Movie EVER!

    I texted Paul with the bit about PAL framerate conversion last week as I was driving, but now that an actual person in PAL-ville has spoken on the matter that should make it definitive. I have a handful of PAL Hong Kong Legends releases–the UK predecessor to Dragon Dynasty, as it too involved the efforts of Bey Logan, whose commentary tracks I could listen to all day just for the voice he uses when quoting English dub dialogue and/or advertising–and recommend them highly. There are a lot of remastered movies that they released which have specific extras they themselves created (commentary tracks, cast interviews, and all the stuff Dragon Dynasty used to do), and they also released a lot of films that never got a similar quality US release. Since they pretty much closed up shop once Bey Logan got Dragon Dynasty going, I will simply note to “check the Internet” if you’re interested.

    I’m worried about DD though considering how The Weinstein Company is faring financially. They haven’t put out any new releases in several months and their website lists nothing as “Coming Soon.” Of the several movies they’re known to have the rights to but haven’t yet put out, I most want Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, the aforementioned Crippled Avengers, and Fists of the White Lotus (as a kid I never appreciated this because I saw it in a double feature with Fist of Legend, but this is awesome). Sure, I have rips of the Celestial DVDs for now, but the English subtitle tracks included on those is so-so at best.

    Oh, and the movie where Jet Li had the chicken suit (Deadly China Hero in the US) was one I first saw under the name Last Hero in China. I’ve also seen it released as Claws of Steel. Wikipedia says yet another title is Iron Rooster vs Centipede, but that part was never the highlight of the film for me. The best part, albeit short-lived and tangential to the movie itself, was when Jet Li and Lau Kar Fai aka Gordon Liu fought against each other on the suspension bridge. That to me was the passing of the torch.

  7. Wait, did I just hear someone suggest they could out drink me?

  8. And wouldn’t you know it, today FUNimation of all companies just announced they got 15 of the Shaw Brothers Celestial remastered kung fu movies lined up for US release. Granted, none of them are the top tier ones since Dragon Dynasty et al have those locked up, but it gives me an excuse to link to Keith Allison’s reviews of two of the films licensed: Bastard Swordsman and Return of the Bastard Swordsman: http://bit.ly/82eB11 http://bit.ly/8Qf663

    The real reason to read these is that they effectively provide a full-on historical account of the rise and fall of the Shaw Brothers studio and kung fu cinema with them. Also, a lot of pictures of a crazy go nuts movie film.

  9. A funny note I read somewhere about Last Hero in China alias Deadly China Hero alias Claws of Steel (which you can probably learn from Wikipedia, but hey): The film is basically an unofficial spoof sequel of Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China film series, with Jet Li reprising his role as legendary Wong Fei-Hung.

    It’s directed by Wong Jing, director of such film masterpieces as Naked Killer, City Hunter, God of Gamblers and Kung Fu Cult Master, a man known for his broad humour and slapstick, hence the silliness of the film.

  10. […] reassure that everything will soon be wrapped up. By the way there is an excellent review of the 5 Deadly Venoms on the Greatest Moive EVER! podcast. It is filled with spoilers for those who care about such […]

  11. I respectfully disagree… Sean could not out drink me. 🙂

  12. OMFG!!! I wasn’t hallucinating.

    I am Canadian and I saw this film on late night TV when I was staying with distant relatives. Since then I have tried to find this film, tried to find info on this film, and tried to find ANYBODY who saw it. I couldn’t remember the films name for sure and I was told that it could have been rebranded after it was dubbed.

    it has now been almost 25 years and my friends were starting to think I was tripping on acid or something, and of course as time went on I could only remember small details and general plot.

    Now I can watch it and see how Baaaad it was and enjoy every minute of it

    THANK YOU!!!

  13. No wonder I couldn’t find anything I was looking under the UK Name for the movie title and I am Canadian.

    d’oh

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