As an elderly kung fu master (Dick Wei) reflects on the achievements of his esoteric kung fu school, he decides that it was probably a bit naughty of him to train and unleash unto the world The Five Venoms; five experts in death, who each have a particular ability designed for assassinating an opponent. The Venoms, he continues, do not know who the other Venoms are and will only ever reveal their special skills in an emergency, but are sure to be hunting for their ill gotten gains as assassins, now kept secret from them by another kung fu master. He explains this to his remaining student ~ who has been taught a mixture of all five styles, but would not be able to beat anyone of the five venoms on his own, being him too much of a jack of all trades and kung fu master of none ~ as way of atoning for his sins, he sends the student out to hunt down and kill any of the venoms who are still evil, find the treasure and give it to charity...
This is regarded as a bit of a Shaw Brothers classic, it features a number of usual suspects in the cast and along with some garish violence, has some very distinctive characters. Chang Cheh weaves quite an interesting web of detective work, which gives us a bit more than just the usual revenger, as he slowly reveals to the audience who The Venoms (both good and bad) are, and of course (without giving too much away) the bad guys team together, as do the good guys creating a story of corruption and deadly intrigue, with a venomous showdown at the end. The kung fu on offer is very good indeed and the main players, with the likes of Phillip Kwok (Mad Dog in Hard Boiled) and perennial bad guy Lung Wei Wang are all excellent!
The region 1 disc on review from Dragon Dynasty is up to their usually high standards.