Friday, December 11, 2009

Poison Clan just plain ROCKS

this wasn't the first or second or even third kung fu movie I ever saw, but it's about my favorite.  the first time I saw it was in early 1984 on WDCA Channel 20 (is there nothing this channel did wrong?) with my cousin Tuck.  it was a Saturday afternoon and they always showed martial arts movies then.  not all of them were great (one called "Bolo" was awful) but overall they were lots of fun.
we had no way of knowing how influential The Five Deadly Venoms (1978) was at the time, and how huge it would become in the US in later years.  we were just two kids enjoying a good movie with an unique story.

no revenge motive, no tournament to determine who is the best martial artist in the martial arts world, more of a making amends for what the Poison Clan has wreaked upon the world in the past (something very much missing from Tarantino's passably entertaining Kill Bill movies).  the dying teacher sends his last student out to do just that, with the help of some of the other clan members.

naturally, this doesn't sit well with more evilly inclined members, so there's our conflict.  we then get to see lots of kung fu of various kinds (all mostly made up) as well as some corrupt officials and a pondering of "where does all the killing end?" by one of the Venoms.

there's a new DVD out by Dragon Dynasty, which is awesome.  it has both Mandarin and English language tracks, and a commentary by Bey Logan which is very fun to listen to.  this DVD should replace the original one (of dubious legality and far worse quality) as soon as you see it in the store.

as mentioned, the influence can't be denied.  most recently the sentai Jûken Sentai Gekiranger (2007) paid homage to this movie, and many other martial arts films and actors as well.  the other influences, such as on rappers are far out of my milieu, so go look 'em up yourselves.

who knew we'd get such wonderful presentations of these classic Shaw Brothers movies?  still, I wouldn't trade watching this for the first time, full screen, mono with a slightly faded picture for anything in the world.

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