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Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
"Wu du" (original title)

R  |   |  Action  |  12 August 1978 (Hong Kong)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,509 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 40 critic

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 to: The Centipede, Snake, Scorpion... See full summary »

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Title: Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kuo Chue
Philip Kwok ...
He Yuan-xin, Gecko / Lizard (as Kuo Chui)
Chien Sun ...
Sheng Chiang ...
Feng Lu ...
Meng Lo ...
Pai Wei ...
Lung Wei Wang ...
Judge
Feng Ku ...
Shu Pei Sun
Huang-Hsi Liu
Lao Shen
Hui Huang Lin
Ching Ho Wang
Han Chen Wang
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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 to: The 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:

Pick Your Poison! See more »

Genres:

Action

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 August 1978 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Five Deadly Venoms  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although promoted under the title "The Five Deadly Venoms," some English dubbed prints shown in the U.S. are actually titled simply "Five Venoms." See more »

Goofs

Near the end where Lizard, Scorpion and the last pupil confront Snake and Centipede at the Snake's home, Lizard addresses Centipede as, "Number 5." The Centipede was actually "Number 1," and was referred to as such throughout the rest of the movie. The Toad was "Number 5," and was referred to as such throughout the rest of the movie. This is undoubtedly an error in the English dubbing, not in the original Chinese dialogue. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Yang Tieh: And 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 better carry on the teacher's orders, find the money, use it well, and try to atone for the clan's crimes.
Yang Tieh: Pay its debts?
He Yuan-xin, Gecko: Yes, you're right!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Chop Socky: Cinema Hong Kong (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Hidden Treasure
26 June 2006 | by (United States) – See 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.


12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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