Crippled Avengers (1978)

crippled avengers poster 1978 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great fight sequences, different story

Standard martial arts story probably isn't for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Crippled Avengers

Studio:  Shaw Brothers

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 21, 1978 (Hong Kong)/November 1981 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

crippled avengers legs chopped off chien sun

Watch out who you bump into in this town…

When Black Tiger Du Tian Dao (Kuan Tai Chen) finds his wife murdered and his son crippled, he destroys the men responsible and vows to his son that revenge will be just.  As the years pass, Chu Twin arms his son Tao Sheng (Feng Lu) with iron hands, and both Chu Twin and Chu Cho Chang cruelly rule their town.  Merchant Chen Shun (Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok) is blinded by Chu Twin while blacksmith Wei Da-ti (Meng Lo) finds himself struck deaf and dumb.  Hu Ah-kuei (Chien Sun) also falls victim to Black Tiger Du Tian Dao and his men and loses his legs while martial artist Wang Yi (Sheng Chiang) is given brain damage through torture.  The four men seek revenge on Black Tiger Dao Tian-Du and the training of Wang Yi’s master Law Bo (Chen-Tu Tan) at the Eagle Mansion could be the key.

Directed by Cheh Chang (who also cowrote the script with Kuang Ni), Crippled Avengers (残缺  aka Can que) is a martial arts action-adventure film.  The movie is also known as Mortal Combat and is sometimes called The Return of the Five Deadly Venoms due to fact it stars four of actors from Five Deadly Venoms (which was also released in 1978) collectively known as the Venom Mob.

crippled avengers meng lo chien sun phillips chung ung kwok

We shall avenge!!!

Five Deadly Venoms is a great martial arts movie with a fun cast and smartly choreographed fighting.  A return of the cast and more fighting was a definite selling point for Crippled Avengers, and Crippled Avengers doesn’t disappoint in a film that is as crazy as you might expect.

The plot starts running at the beginning and doesn’t really stop.  In the first three minutes you have a woman’s legged severed, a kid’s arms cut off, and a number of people dead.  The bloodletting and maiming continues and you get an odd combination of characters oddly work well as a whole due to the disabilities forced on them.  While in general, a movie about a man and his son destroyed by men who cripple them and killed their loved ones would be the heroes of the film, here, the two quickly become the villains.  It is an odd mix.

The cast is good.  Sheng Chiang has a lot of fun as the mentally impaired fighter who provides an uncomfortable comic relief in his disability (and it is pretty cold that his “friends” don’t leave with him at the end).  Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok and Meng Lo play the deadly due who work better as a pair rather than individually (but initially struggle to communicate since they have contradictory disabilities).  It feels like Chien Sun is a bit too powerful with his iron feet as a bailout, and I wish Feng Lu had gotten to use his iron hands more (or at least the cool add-ons).

crippled avengers ring fight sheng chiang feng lu iron hands

I need some extending hand-razor shooting arms!

The fighting and the choreography is what sells Crippled Avengers.  With multiple fights throughout the movie, the action is well balanced, but the final fights of the movie of course shine.  In particular, the iron ring fight between Sheng Chiang, Meng Lo, and Tao Sheng not only goes on forever with new moves and tricks, but it brings a bit of humor to the action that it feels like Jackie Chan borrowed for many of his fight sequences.  The final battle is good, but the ring fight wins.

Crippled Avengers is definitely worth seeking out if you are a fan of martial arts and high energy action.  The movie has a lot of cliché 1970s “Kung Fu” fight aspects, but that is half the fun.  It is the type of movie that dubbing actually can sometimes add a layer of entertainment…but you can also see how much the translation changes by having the dubbing and subtitles at the same time.  Crippled Avengers is a winner that should not be missed.

Related Links:

Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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