I give this Martial arts classic an 8.5/10.
This Kung Fu classic is directed by Chang Che (one-armed swordsman (another classic!)) and brought to us by the Shaw brothers studio (the next time you watch Kill Bill, pay attention to the music and screen after the Miramax banner hits. THAT’s the Shaw Brothers theme and logo.)
“The 5 deadly Venoms” claim is that it inspired “generations of action films, rap music (There is some reference of this movie in the works of the Wu-Tang Clan), and pop culture” as per the blu ray back jacket.
The main story is good, where a dying a master of the poison clan sends his last pupil out to uncover 5 of his most deadly students. Each was trained in a specific Kung fu Style and the students are hiding under fake identities.
Don’t be fooled into thinking there are some twists involved here. Though there may be an attempt at misdirection, most of those twists are easy to spot. The movie would probably have done better to scrap the omniscient narrative if they wanted to keep more guess work in. That aside, this flick is a classic not because it meant to keep you guessing (and failed) but because it had great action, kung fu, camaraderie, and to an extent, entertaining voice dubbing and sometimes overly dramatic performances.
Some will be put off by the impossible air acrobatics a-la crouching tiger, hidden dragon. Two things here though: 1) you don’t see it often and 2) in the context of this movie, it adds to the fun!
Picking this up and watching it with an open mind will likely be decently spent free time.
Watch out for the last five way fight at the end, it's great! A little long in my opinion, but great.
Also Watch out for Pupil #5: Toad’s iron skin! What happens to Toad is pretty brutal.