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Film: Five Deadly Venoms

A dying master of the Poison Clan is training his final student, his sixth. Fearing the skills he taught to his previous students are being used to evil ends, he sends this student, Yan Tieh (played by Chiang Sheng), on a mission: Trace his former students, assess their moral standing (dispatching them if necessary), and protect the master's old partner. His partner became rich through the clan and he fears the old students will seek to steal the fortune.

So begins this cult 1978 Hong Kong classic movie, one of the best of the Shaw Brothers collection.

During the course of his journey, Yan Tieh meets all five students. Alternatively referred to by their number (the order in which they were trained) or by their animal style, each student was taught only 1 of the 5 poison styles. Yan Tieh, number 6, was taught all 5 styles, but he had only 3 years of training so his master tells him "You must join up with one of the five, or you will have no chance of defeating them."

Number 1 (played by Gao Ji) is the Centipede. His style mimics the thousand arms and legs of the centipede. He's fast. Really fast. As the Big Bad he wears red.

Number 2 (played by Wei Pei) is the Snake. He has a two pronged attack. He has the snake's mouth on one hand whereby using precise finger control he attacks the pressure points mimicking the poisonous affect of a snake bite. On his other hand is the stinging tail. He fights extremely well on his back. He and Number 1 trained at the same time. Nevertheless all students wore masks to hid their identities from each other. His color is silver. His identity is a rich nobleman.

Number 3 (played by Sun Chien) is the Scorpion. This style is all about striking. Hard. His kicks are like the stinging tail and his fists are like the pincer. He trained alone with the master and never met Number 1 or Number 2. He remains in the shadows for most of the movie. His color is either black or purple.

Number 4 (played by Kuo Chui) is the Lizard. The oldest of the fighters, he studied at the same time as Number 5. Remember that they all wore masks so none of them know the identities of the others. The lizard is an agile and nimble style. He can climb walls and fight with extreme dexterity from them. His color is gold.

Number 5 (played by Lu Feng) is the Toad. The movie's description of this style must be quoted and certain people may remember the line appearing a Wu-Tang clan song. "The toad style is immensely strong and immune to nearly any weapon. When it's properly used, it's almost invincible." He can bend metal. His color is green as shown in the open sequence. However, he wears a brown or black coat or goes bare-chested for most of the film.

This film provides examples of:

Fist of LegendMartial Arts MovieForced Vengeance
F.I.S.T.Films of the 1970sFoul Play
FearlessHong Kong FilmsFirestorm

alternative title(s): Five Deadly Venoms
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