A mission that takes you to the next level!
27 September, 2012
A masterpiece in its own right, The 5 Deadly Venoms comes from the master of Kung fu movies himself, Chang Cheh, and was produced by the Shaw Brothers studio in 1978. Belonging to the genre of cult movies, this film released in the year 1978. The 5 Deadly Venoms showcases the nuances of martial arts in the form of the Poison Clan, the deadly five – Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard and Toad. This film made it to the Top 50 Cult Films list and ranked number 11 on Entertainment Weekly.
Martial kitsch at its best, the five venoms in this movie appear to be cult figures gone awry. With breath-taking action sequences, this movie showcases the various styles of the five Kung fu Poison Clan masters. With back flips, martial arts weapons and feats that personify dexterity and agility, the story revolves around brotherhood or the lack of it, revenge, hostility, savage greed and deceit. Considered to be Chang Cheh’s tour-de-force directorial, the plot revolves around the dying wish of the master of the Poison Clan (Dick Wei). Yan Tieh, the last of the master’s disciples, is left to finding the five secret members of the clan who are endowed with lethal powers. Set in the backdrop of the 14th century, Sun Chien plays the Scorpion, Kuo Chui, the Lizard, Lo Mang, the Toad, Wei Pei, the Snake, and Lu Feng as the Centipede.
In order to prevent his amassed fortune from getting into the hands of wrongdoers and his former disciples, the master ordains Yan Tieh on a mission to fight the deadly venoms of the Poison Clan. The task is further complicated when Yan has no means of identifying these disciples due to the masks they adorn. These masks are reminiscent of the Chinese opera and add to the cultural impact of the film. The five pupils are addressed only in terms of their venom style or in the order of being taught by their master. (‘Number 1’ through 5)
Yan has been trained in all the venom styles, but must join forces with one of the venoms in order to destroy the others. The crucial question being, which of them isn’t evil?
The master instructs Yan Tieh and tells him that each of the venoms have a weakness that can be played to his advantage. The Centipede can be combated if Yan strikes the upper and the lower body in a simultaneous assault. The Snake can be thwarted if the head and the tail are disarmed. The Scorpion’s pincer-style attack can prove to be a fatal threat and Yan has to tactfully combat his opponent. The Toad’s weakness lies in his ears, which symbolises the “iron skin” of the toad.
A tale of the occult and slightly garish as some might suppose, this film nevertheless remains a classic.
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