A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He finds help in the form of a new teacher (who knows Ninjitsu) and new brothers. Together... See full summary »
Director Chang Cheh reunites the Five Venoms in his second biggest cult hit in the West. It's Lo Meng's most memorable performances whose showdown with fellow Venom Kuo Chue is artistically violent while being graphically artsy.
Three North Shaolin teachers (Lu Feng, Chang Sheng, and Sun Chien) are called on by the Manchus to teach their soldiers and are urged to challenge the current South Shaolin teachers. They ... See full summary »
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
In an effort to usurp the throne away from his Uncle, a villainous nephew conspires against him. A list of all those loyal to the nephew is compiled and placed inside a deathtrap filled pagoda for safe keeping. To pledge their loyalty to the cause, several national treasures are robbed by various thieves and placed in the House of Traps. A judge is sent out to investigate the nephew. Along the way, he is attacked by assassins to prevent the truth from being revealed. A handful of heroic secret avengers eventually join the fight to eliminate the villains and reclaim the stolen goods from the House of Traps.
The final official Venom movie is a fun and often times bloody adventure. At this point in Chang's career he was apparently having a ball directing these comic book styled movies filled with elaborate weaponry and creative, gory scenes of violence. It's a shame the HK movie-going public didn't feel the same way. It was also apparent with Chang's succeeding films, the budgets were getting smaller with the ambitiousness of these later films hampered by the dwindling funds Shaw's were allotting him.
The film is still a lot of fun. The centerpiece is the House of Traps itself with its many deadly snares. With each time someone dares to tread inside, more of the house's dangers are revealed. Also of note are the many intricate and wild weaponry on display. One of the best is an Umbrella that masquerades as a large drill and a claw-like weapon that conceals a cord that enables a man to move from one rooftop to the next. Also the costumes do not adhere to any known style of clothing from the time period. Chang once said reality did not interest him and this is most obvious in these later films from 1978 thru 1982.
Sadly, with this being the final Venom film to feature the bulk of the original actors, the combatants don't get to intermingle very often. Only two, Kuo Chui as the Black Fox and Lu Feng as Butterfly Hua get to mix it up a bit. The two of them both play thieves who constantly try to one up the other to show their loyalty to the young usurper. Chui steals the show as the smart ass Black Fox and may or not be a secret agent also sent to look into the actions of the nephew.
Wang Li, one of the 'Baby Venoms' as called by fans, doesn't get to show off his skills until the finale and the kicker of the Venoms, Sun Chien doesn't fight at all instead he plays the judge that is masquerading as a scholar investigating the case. Lung Tien Sheng who impressed as the Spearman in FLAG OF IRON (1980) doesn't get to do much till the end. Chu Ko, Chiang Sheng, Cheng Tien Chi, Chin Su Ho and Yu Tai Peng play the Five Rats who enter the film as undercover heroes. While there is action throughout, the bulk of it doesn't come until the finale.
This film was very rare as the only way to see it until now was a tattered fullscreen tape with English subs that were barely legible. The new remastered DVD of course, looks great. An enjoyable film with an interesting premise, exotic weapons, the usual great fights and a nice smattering of gore.
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