Three refugees become sworn brothers during a war. One (Kuo Chui/Philip Kwok) works in a whore house, one (Chiang Sheng) in a gambling house, and the other (Lo Mang) in a martial arts ... See full summary »
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Baek Jang-Mi is the female leader of an international pickpocket gang. Her target is to broaden her territory to outside Seoul. She disguises as a tattooist as a cover. After a number of ... See full summary »
Three refugees become sworn brothers during a war. One (Kuo Chui/Philip Kwok) works in a whore house, one (Chiang Sheng) in a gambling house, and the other (Lo Mang) in a martial arts school. They become embroiled in the war and are betrayed by one's mentor. Written by
KILLER ARMY (1979) is one of the better entries in the series of films starring the five actors-martial artists collectively known as the Five Venoms (from their first film together, FIVE DEADLY VENOMS). It's a lavish historical kung fu adventure shot entirely on the sprawling studio sets of the Shaw Bros. Hong Kong studio. It has a strong script, excellent performances and an abundance of kung fu action featuring the three most colorful of the Venoms.
Set during a time of civil war in China, it focuses on the adventures of three refugees (played by Kuo Chui, Chiang Sheng, and Lo Meng) who manage to get jobs, thanks to their kung fu skills, at a time when most refugees are brutalized by the various military and civil factions ruling the city. The emotional tone is set at the beginning as we see hordes of bedraggled and hungry refugees enter the city only to suffer the cruel whims of nasty and rapacious guards. We first meet one of the hero refugees, Kuo Chui, as he hides under a restaurant table eating stolen chicken and fights off the guards who catch him.
Later, when an army colonel is killed and the blame put on the three refugee heroes, the various factions scour the city searching for the three. One faction, the martial unit, believes the refugees' story and breaks with the other factions to shelter them. When a female brothel worker is forced to lure the three into a trap, the stage is set for a sprawling final battle amidst large sets representing the courtyards and dock areas of the city. Four of the Five Venoms are involved in the battle, along with various sword- and spear-wielding opponents.
The three main performers, Kuo Chui, Chiang Sheng and Lo Meng, are all superb fighters and fine actors. The fight scenes are as good as any Venoms fights I've seen, with lots of straight kung fu as well as assorted weapons work including Kuo Chui's expert use of a three-section staff. The remaining two Venoms, Lu Feng and Sun Chien, play the leaders of different factions and do a relatively small amount of fighting. They are joined in the villain department by frequent Venom co-star (and unofficial 6th Venom) Wang Li. Overall, this is a must-see for Venoms fans, although the current version in regular distribution in the U.S. is missing about 12 minutes of footage.
ADDENDUM: In 2006, Celestial Pictures (HK) released a restored and remastered edition of this film on Region 3 DVD under the film's original title, THE REBEL INTRUDERS, in Mandarin with English subtitles. The film's running time on this DVD is 95 min., which is 8 min. longer than the Ground Zero VHS edition cited above.
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