Crippled Avengers (1978)
Director: Chang Cheh
Tagline: totally awesome super heroic delight
The cast of the Five Venoms reunites for this movie that I had been told was silly, but it turned out to be serious and really good kung fu movie. Some of the things that happen in it may seem implausible, but this it is set in the kung fu universe so things like that can happen.
When a kung fu master’s family is attacked he goes a bit funny in the head and starts taking it out on the people around him. Years later we see him going around the town with his son (who now has iron arms after having them cut off in the original attack)
lording it over everyone because he can.
A traveling salesman who looks at them funny is blinded, the local blacksmith is made a deaf/mute for speaking out and another bloke who bumps into them accidentally has his legs cut off. Seeing their plight, a kung fu hero goes to avenge them and has his head squashed making him an imbecile.
Luckily the other three are waiting outside the bad dude’s house so they pick him up after the servants throw him out. Not knowing what to do, they find a letter on the kung fu hero and travel to the house of his teacher.
The teacher agrees to help them learn kung fu and even the former kung fu hero helps by attacking them randomly (he still has his kung fu.) The training sequences are really well handled I thought and there are loads of interesting things going on for each of the characters.
After three years of training, their teacher tells they are ready and sends them back to get their revenge. I liked how they didn’t just go straight back and kick arse though.
It turns out that the kung fu master’s birthday is coming up so his assistant keeps trying to deal with them quietly. This leads to escalating battles throughout the town as the cronies try different methods to deal with them.
The final battle is great also, I won’t give it away but it mostly involves the blind avenger and the deaf/mute fighting everyone with the help and hindrance of the imbecile who thinks it is a game. The legless avenger is kept in reserve as his iron legs are a secret weapon.
While this movie is not as famous as the Five Venoms I think it is just as good.
Many of the films made by Chang Cheh in the 1970s are being re-released in a restored form by Celestial Pictures as part of the Shaw Brothers collection.
If you have only seen them before dubbed on video and enjoyed them I would recommend tracking them down.