The movie starts off as the Tiger Style Kung Fu clan attack the wife and child of a man named Chu Twin. This clan wants to show Tu Tin Ho that he is not invincible, so they hurt his family instead…(? – he still didn’t get hurt so I fail to see the connection!). They chop off his wife’s legs and his son’s arms just before Chu Twin arrives home, he then frights and kills those responsible while his wife dies on the floor. He vows to his son that he will build him Iron arms so he can be a powerful martial artist.
Now all grown up, Chu Twin’s son now has Iron arms, and to further lash out Chu Twin and his son cripple the opposing clan’s sons – despite the fact revenge has already been taken on their fathers. They then rule the town with an Iron fist (pun intended), crippling anyone who so much as looks at them wrong.
Eventually A few men have run ins in Chu Twin and his son, The first being a man who is blinded, the second being a blacksmith with a big mouth – so he make his deaf and mute. Following this Chu Twin runs into a man on the street so he chops off his legs. The three men reside at the blacksmith’s shop before the towns people are told not to use their business.
One man eventually comes into town and vows he will take revenge for them, but ends up having his head crushed and becoming mentally retarded. He then rejoins the group of men, and they all decide to take the now mentally handicapped man back to his master. There they learn Kung Fu, catering to their disabilities and vow to take revenge.
Behold the Crippled Avengers!
This movie sounds like a really bad idea – but it’s actually pretty good!
In Shaw Brothers fashion they do a good job of having the hero’s beaten down before training hard to overcome and take out out their rivals. In this film they cater extremely well to the disabilities of each character.
Mr Wei – the blacksmith, works around his lack of hearing and ability to speak by wearing mirrors on his forearms (to see attacks from behind, and by drawing on the hands of his team and vice versa as a means of communication. That way he can communicate with them all – including his blind friend/co avenger Hawker, who develops his sense of hearing exponentially (like a cool version of Dare Devil).
Meanwhile Iron legs are cast by the blacksmith to help their legless friend, and the mentally handicapped avenger Yuan Yi can still fight rather well.
The whole approach is pretty cool, and makes for some smart and entertaining fight scenes as they plan their attack on Cu Twin, his son and their men. Watching them overcome their disabilities is a big theme, and cool to watch.
The Action & Martial Arts
The fights weren’t bad and were very similar to what you see in most late 70’s Shaw Brothers movies. The added elements of Iron arms, legs and other bits and pieces adds a little more spice and variety to the fights though and separates it (to some degree) from other movies they’ve made in their time.
Most of the fights have a good pace, but the final fight is a true show of acrobatic ability and fast pace and rhythm.
After a little while though the acrobatic flips taike over and seems to create more of a circus perfomance than a fight, but this does eventually stop before the men take on Chu Twin in the final battle.
Overall some decent action with a cool idea driving the styles of each character. A must see for fans of classic Kung Fu movies and Shaw Brothers films.
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Crippled Avengers (Return of 5 Deadly Venoms)