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Hong Kong, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Hidden Hero The Films of Chang Cheh)

Director: Chang Cheh

The Five Venoms (Wu Du) Hong Kong

The Scorpion, The Snake, The Centipede, The Lizard and The Toad: five treacherous assassins, each trained in a deadly fighting technique modelled after their namesakes, the most venomous creatures on earth. In the martial arts universe of Chang Cheh they are the Five Venoms.

One of Shaw Brothers Studios' most memorable martial arts films, this intricate period thriller has developed a cult following in the West, and was plundered for ideas by Quentin Tarantino for his Kill Bill films. Young martial arts student Yang De is instructed by his dying master to seek out his former students, the aforementioned Five Venoms. These men were top members of The Poison Clan and were always masked to keep their identity secret. The old teacher is worried that his pupils are now using their talents for evil and he wants Yang (who has learned a bit of each man's style) to locate them and investigate an intriguing mystery.

'More than just a kung fu movie, with a cast possessing the greatest screen chemistry in martial arts film history. The film ultimately lives up to its tremendous hype. Apart from its substantial significance in the history of the genre and its popularity, the movie really is a lot of fun.'

D Chang Cheh P Run Run Shaw S Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang WS Celestial Pictures Ltd L Cantonese w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/1978/102mins

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