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Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Cast: Philip Kwok, Philip Kwok, Chiang Cheh, more...
Director: Chang Cheh, Chang Cheh
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Epi
Genre: Action, Martial Arts
Running Time: 95 min.
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Five Deadly Venoms tells the tale of a martial arts master who commands a student to track down some of his other students and get them to stop those that have used their skills for nefarious ends. The Centipede, The Snake, The Scorpion, The Lizard, and The Toad must decide if they will join together to obey their old master's wishes. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Staff Pick: The Five Deadly Venoms, a.k.a., Wu Du, is not an Animal Planet show, but instead one of the great, and unsung, martial arts films of the 70s - or any era. The film has an almost perfectly simple set-up: five disciples, "The Centipede," "The Snake," "The Scorpion," "The Lizard," and "The Toad," are summoned by their former teacher, who is worried that his pupils are using their talents for evil. The dying master sends out his young pupil Yang De (Chiang Sheng) to investigate. To reveal more of the plot intricacies would be unfair, but with elements of mystery and suspense - along with a bit of wuxia (fantasy/swords and sorcery) - expertly mixed in with the masterful fight sequences, that aspect of the film ranks well above the stereotypically mindless martial arts film. Wei Pai, as the Snake (in a role originally intended for a woman), is a particular standout and will make one wish he'd been able to have a longer career after this. If you've never seen a Shaw Brothers film before - the incredibly prolific producers of Hong Kong entertainment for three decades, who left an astonishing legacy of cinematic spectacles - The Five Deadly Venoms will serve as a fine introduction. -- Tamara Lees

GreenCine Member Reviews

Great movie, poor quality copy by shiftless January 18, 2008 - 9:47 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The all Movie Guide synopsis couldn't be more wrong as far as the plot goes. A better summary is a dying old master sends his current under-trained pupil to see whether his former students are using their skills for evil, and dispatch them permanently if so.

This movie is great fun and I would say to rent it even if you're not a particular fan of the genre except for one thing: the quality of the print. Visually, the few glitches, scratches and such are pretty minor, but the audio track is abysmal and that might turn some off as it can be hard to understand what they are saying, and sometimes the music abruptly cuts off. Otherwise this movie has the perfect combination of mystery, great action, visual color, original characters, and humor. Let's all pray for a restored re-release, 'cause it deserves it.

Another dubbed-only DVD by tengel January 12, 2006 - 12:28 PM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
It should be noted that this DVD, like some others in the genre floating around GreenCine, is a dubbed-only version of the film. There are no native language tracks or subtitles; a quick check on shows that only dub/English is available on Region 0, and that Cantonese/Mandarin are Region 3 only releases.

I feel it's worth annotating here, as I personally do not like dub-only and upon knowing that will choose not to rent a particular DVD. This may help other potential renters like myself; it is not GreenCine's fault, there just isn't an appropriate native-language DVD they can obtain.

Just plain fun by Ralsar April 23, 2004 - 4:07 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
The Five Deadly Venoms is a classic Shaw Bros film. It features a great story and interesting characters. The plot is a complex (at least for kung-fu movie) mystery that takes its time unfolding. All the characters are given enough time to develop which makes the fight scenes even more enertaining. The unique fighting styles of each member of the Poison Clan give the film a real element of fun.

All in all this is a great classic martial arts film that should please any fan of the genre.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.14)
113 Votes
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