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Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Wu du (original title)
The final student of a dying martial arts master is instructed to locate the previous five students and defeat any evil ones among them.

Director:

Cheh Chang

Writers:

Cheh Chang, Kuang Ni (as I Kuang)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheng Chiang ... Yang Tieh
Chien Sun ... Ma Chou / Kao Chin, Scorpion
Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok ... Ho Yuan-Hsin / Meng Tien-Hsia, Lizard (as Chui Kuo)
Meng Lo ... Liang Shen, Toad (as Mang Lo)
Pai Wei Pai Wei ... Chi Tung, Snake
Feng Lu ... Chang Hsiao-Tien, Centipede
Lung Wei Wang ... Judge Wang
Feng Ku ... Old Master Yuan (Guest star)
Dick Wei ... Master (as Lung Tu)
Shu-Pei Sun ... Constable Lin Kuang
Huang-Hsi Liu Huang-Hsi Liu ... Men Hua
Hui Huang Lin ... Prison Gaoler
Ching Ho Wang ... Constable
Lao Shen ... Fruit vendor
Han Chen Wang ... Prison Coroner
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Storyline

A dying teacher instructs his final student to check on the activities of five former pupils, each of whom he taught a unique and special style of kung-fu: Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, and Toad (hence the title). His final student, who knows a little of each style, must team up with one of the other good students to destroy the evil ones, if there are any. Greed and treachery ensue as the student discovers that some of the students are indeed evil, but which one can he trust enough to team up with? Written by Ken McCary <kmccary@amaroq.ces.ncsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Five Complete Strangers, The Perfect Inheirtence Treasure, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? See more »

Genres:

Action

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

12 August 1978 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Deadly Venoms See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shaw Brothers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The music used during the first fight scene was also used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). See more »

Goofs

When the teacher's final student introduces himself to the Lizard, he refers to himself as number four when he is actually number 6. This surely is a goof with the dubbing. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Yang Tieh: That damn judge ought to pay as well!
He Yuan-xin, Gecko: All judges are the same. If we kill him, the next one may be worse, and we can't kill them all. We'd better carry out Teacher's orders: find the money and use it well - try to atone for the clan's crimes.
Yang Tieh: Pay its debts?
He Yuan-xin, Gecko: Yes, you're right!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Crippled Avengers (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hidden Treasure
26 June 2006 | by jldmp1See all my reviews

Most 70s (and 80s) Kong Kong martial arts films barely function as movies; usually there are a few well-planned fight sequences, but the plot is scraped pretty thin to fill in the gaps between those nodes -- like porno films, really.

But this one does several things well. Most overtly, there is the direction and choreography, which confines each combatant to a 'style' -- it's really based on Chinese circus acrobatics and comedic theater, but the effect works.

Second, there is the language of the camera, which uses some impressive techniques(even by today's measure), changing projection speeds from real time time to slow motion, and from unfiltered to filtered views to depict story direction toward the past or toward the future.

Least overt, but most powerful and unexpected, is the construction. The winner of this contest is determined by who 'unfolds' the story. The master (the writer) sets up a game where the lead character doesn't know who he's seeking, which is the same situation we viewers find ourselves in. One by one, he figures out who is who, at the same rate we find out who is who. It all follows a tragedy/noir arc. The ending tends toward irony, a la "The Sting". Much more clever stuff than what we usually get out of this genre.

The 'five venoms' idea is the template for Tarantino's 'deadly viper assassins' from the "Kill Bill" volumes.


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