Saturday, October 24, 2015

633. Wu Du/Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Running Time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Chang Cheh
Written By: Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang
Main Cast: Chiang Sheng, Sun Chien, Kuo Chui, Lo Mang, Wei Pei
Click here to view the trailer


I'm baaack! It's still Saturday morning and I'm still trucking along, trying my best to get three movies in today. I really don't see a problem and honestly, this time next week I think I'll be all finished or at least,  watching my 1001st.

So far this morning, I've seen two of my least favorite genres: sci-fi and martial arts. Remind me not to follow this up with a western and my third movie of the day will be hard pressed NOT to be an improvement. Five Deadly Venoms is, as I just said, a kung fu flick. We start out with a martial arts master, who has taken on his final student. The master is on his deathbed, but before he dies, he tells his student - who has not yet finished his training - of the Five Deadly Venoms. The House of the Five Venoms is the place of training that the master has taught at and the Five Venoms refer to five of his students, each of whom has perfected a type of martial arts. The five consist of: Thousand Hands, Snake, Scorpion, Gecko and Toad. Thousand Hands, for example, is named for the speed at which his fists fly, making it seem as though he has a thousand hands. They are all justly named and the Master tells the young student that he must find the ones who are corrupt and destroy them. He says that he must start by visiting a second master, the training partner of the aging master, who holds a fortune that is in jeopardy of being thieved by the corrupt Venoms. The student, named Yang, accepts the mission, this leaving his dojo and preparing to snuff out the corrupt players. Since the audience has only ever seen the venoms under masks, the identities of everyone the camera encounters comes into question.


I've tried Jackie Chan, I've tried Bruce Lee and I've sampled a handful of Shaw Brothers productions and I can confidently say that martial arts movies are not for me. Sure the fight scenes in Five Deadly Venoms were something to behold. However, it wasn't nearly enough to keep me occupied for ninety minutes and therefore, I found myself rather bored. You know, ever since I've taken away my self imposed ban against calling films "boring", I've noticed I've been using the word a lot in my reviews. It's such a cop out of a word, however, some films are simply boring and for my money, this was one of them. I will say this though - I liked how the movie started, by showing us five guys and giving us miniature profiles on each one of them. When the movie started, here I am thinking, "okay, now maybe this is a kung fu movie I can get behind". The premise seemed simple enough: Here are five trained killers, each with a distinct style, with the objective being to figure out which ones are villains and get them before they get the fortune. I'm totally on board with that. Except I think a more interesting premise would have been for all but one of them to be dirty and make it Yang's objective to find the one good Venom and enlist his help in hunting down the four bad guys. Instead, there were two good guys and three baddies and it's another case of the filmmaker's over thinking their premise. By the time this thing was even half way over, I was didn't know who was Centipede, who was Snake or who was Scorpion and frankly, I didn't care.

RATING: 4/10  Let's make it short & sweet on this one too and prevent me from rambling on and on. At this pace, it's going to be a long week at the movies.


October 24, 2015  1:31pm


  1. Your comment . " By the time this thing was even halfway over, I was didn't know who was Centipede, who was Snake or who was Scorpion and frankly, I didn't care." pretty much sums it up.
    I will defend the place in the book for so many Martial arts movies on the grounds that they are HUGE in large parts of he world, and I will especially defend that more obscure (to us) ones like that that don't have the headline stars like Chan or Lee, are featured.
    All that doesn't mean I get these any more than you do. They are, I suppose, an equivalent to westerns - so that sort of gives us an excuse to find them not to our taste.

    1. I'm glad it's not just me being a sourpuss. It seems I genuinely did save a lot of bad - mediocre stuff for the end.


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