The Five Venoms (1978)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2005-08-01
Summary: All time classic!
Probably one of the most popular kung fu movies ever made, Five Deadly Venoms is a classic film of martial arts mayhem. A dying master, dismayed by stories that some of his five former students have become criminals, begins to train his final student Yan Tieh (Chiang Sheng) in order to go and kill the evil students. Each one of his original five students were trained in one of the deadly venom styles: Snake (Wei Pai), Centipede (Lu Feng), Lizard (Kuo Chui), Scorpion (Sun Chien) and Toad (Lo Meng). The master decides to teach his final student all five styles, but only manages to give a brief lesson on each one. Yan Tieh must then find the other Venoms, but since he has never seen them, he is told that they will probably be going after the master's old partner, who has become very wealthy. Since he is hardy as powerful as any of the other venoms, he will need to form an alliance with any of good Venoms and try to destroy the other four, restoring honor to the clan. Thus begins an hour and a half of insane kung fu fights, mistaken identites, backstabbing and plot twists that make the film so enjoyable.

In terms of a pure, ideal kung fu movie, it doesn't get much better than Five Deadly Venoms. A great plot, cool characters, lightning-fast kung fu and a surprise ending all add up to one of the best movies ever to come out of the Shaw Brothers studios. Shaw Brothers was the predmoninant movie making force in Hong Kong during the 60's and 70's and pumped out hundreds and hundreds of martial arts films. The five actors that portrayed the Venoms became one of their biggest draws, and they subsequently made several more movies as a group, including Crippled Avengers (also known as Return of the Five Deadly Venoms). Director Chang Cheh was also one of the best directors for the Shaw Brothers, and made some of the most violent and popular martial arts movies of that period. If you loved and miss those days of Kung Fu Theater on Saturday mornings, see this movie. You won't be disappointed.
Reviewer Score: 9