MASKED AVENGERS
CHA SHOU
1981, AGFA, 92 min, Hong Kong, Dir: Chang Cheh

When a trident-wielding gang known as the Masked Avengers terrorizes the countryside, Chiang Sheng and his martial arts students vow to hunt them down. Reformed Avenger Phillip Kwok offers assistance - but there is a double agent in their midst. Featuring many familiar faces from the Venom Mob and an amazingly choreographed final battle in a booby-trapped temple, this unusually dark and bloody actioner is one of the best Shaw Brothers films of the 1980s.


CRIPPLED AVENGERS
CAN QUE
1978, AGFA, 100 min, Hong Kong, Dir: Chang Cheh

Also known as RETURN OF THE FIVE DEADLY VENOMS, this action-packed film features the same director and most of the cast of that martial arts classic, but in a completely different storyline, and it’s all the better for it. A bitter warlord and his son rule a town with (literally) iron fists, maiming all who give them the slightest offence. Four of their victims - a blinded toy salesman, a deafened blacksmith, a legless passerby and a brain-damaged swordsman train with a kung fu master to seek revenge, transforming their disabilities to advantages.


KILL!
KIRU
1968, Janus Films, 114 min, Japan, Dir: Kihachi Okamoto

In this pitch-black action comedy, a pair of down-on-their-luck swordsmen arrive in a dusty, windblown town, where they become involved in a local clan dispute. One, previously a farmer, longs to become a noble samurai. The other, a former samurai haunted by his past, prefers living anonymously with gangsters. But when both men discover the wrongdoings of the nefarious clan leader, they side with a band of rebels under siege at a remote mountain cabin. Based on the same source novel as Akira Kurosawa’s SANJURO, KILL! playfully tweaks samurai film convention, borrowing elements from established chanbara classics and seasoning them with a little Italian Western.


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