Crippled Avengers [殘缺] (1978)
AKA Return of the Five Deadly Venoms, Mortal Combat, Avengers Handicapped

Starring Chen Kuan-Tai, Phillip Kwok Chun-Fung, Lo Meng, Sun Chien, Chiang Sheng, Lu Feng, Johnny Wang Lung-Wei, Yang Hsiung, Yu Tai-Ping, Tony Tam Chun-To, Ching Miao

Directed by Chang Cheh

Expectations: High.

Crippled Avengers is like an anti-Chor Yuen movie; a nearly perfect example of a simple revenge tale told exceptionally well. Even without a deep narrative, Chang Cheh and the Venoms craft a film with the power to entertain and enthrall throughout. Would it be better with additional backstory? Maybe, but it’s also kind of genius in its simplicity, starting “in media res,” at what could theoretically be another film’s ending.

The Three Tigers of the South arrive at the home of Du Tiando the Black Tiger (Chen Kuan-Tai) while he’s away. They find his wife and son, who they punish for their relation to Du by chopping off the wife’s legs, and the son’s arms at the elbow. These are some ruthless individuals! Du returns home at this moment, though, and quickly kills the offending men with the three deadly styles of the Black Tiger Fist. Du vows to find a craftsman to create new arms of iron for his son, and with the magic of film editing, Du Chang (Lu Feng) has grown up and received his medieval-gauntlet-like iron arms. What will Du Chang do with his newfound iron strength? Cripple other innocents was not the answer I expected! What a twist!

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