The Crippled Avengers

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (81 votes, average: 4.37 out of 5)
Posted On: January 17, 2012
Posted In: Action Movies, All Movies, Kung Fu Movie Reviews, Kung Fu Movies, Martial Arts Movies, Shaolin Kung Fu, Shaw Brothers
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This is one seriously bad ass Shaw Brother’s classic that will totally blow you away. This film easily ranks as one of the top 10 Kung Fu Movie classics, and has influenced many of the films that came after. The venerable Chang Cheh directs this unintentional masterpiece and stars Kuan Tai Chen, Feng Lu and Philip Kwok light up the screen.

The plot revolves around a wealthy Kung Fu expert, who is turned bitter and evil by the slaying of his wife and the loss of his son’s hands. He lashes out with rage, bullying the local township with terror and brutality, crushing any perceived slight. The father along with his iron-handed  son (the father has a local blacksmith make his son spring-loaded iron hands) find sadistic pleasure and satisfaction by crippling anyone who gets in their way. Four of those who are crippled, a hawker who is blinded, a blacksmith made mute and deaf, a drifter who loses his legs, and a fighter who loses his sanity, band together to use their disabilities to the best of their advantage.

This film was made during the “Venom’s” era films and features many of the same actors that starred in the “Five Deadly Venom’s” series. While the production values of this film are quite good for their day, Chang Cheh does not seem to be intent on making a classic here. He merely wants to make a movie suggestive of Chinese folk legends, allowing the stable of Shaw Brothers talent to show off their athletic talents.

For added measure, at the center of the film Kuan Tai Chen, a classically trained martial artist who had also developed considerable skill as an actor. His presence adds much credibility to the film.

What is truly impressive is Chang Cheh’s ability to weave a film that doesn’t seem to take itself to seriously, remaining slightly abstract, yet is so rich in detail. This film is a bit of a caricature in some ways and despite itself, turns out to be one of the Shaw Brother’s most memorable classics.

When people say “they don’t make them like they used to”, this is the kind of film they’re talking about. A genre-defining moment in the history of “old-school” Kung Fu films, this film was frequently imitated but it’s charm and artistry could never be duplicated. Enjoy!