Loaded with superheroes and villains and bloody kung fu action, this colorful wuxia actioner pits Venoms Mob stars against one another as the martial world’s most notorious bandits attempt to steal a shipment of gold that’s guarded by a band of righteous heroes. The government contracts Hu Wei Security and its leader Yang Hu-yun (Sun Chien) to escort 200,000 taels of gold bound for the relief of disaster victims. They’re aided by swordsman Li Qing-ming (Wei Pai), his fiancée Leng Feng (Helen Poon), and the fighting duo known as Short Axe Fang Shi (Chiang Sheng) and Long Axe Yan Jiu (Sun Shu-pei). Word quickly arrives that the notorious bandits of the Deadly Valley are planning to rob the shipment. Along with their use of nefarious traps and poisons, the bandits boast some of the martial world’s most deadly fighters including the Seven Deadly Hooks troupe, Silver Spear (Lu Feng), Iron Armour Wei Lin (Wang Lung-wei), Copper Head (Yang Hsiung), and their near invincible leader Golden Arm Kid (Lo Meng). Despite their combined strength, the escorts are outmatched by the treachery and fighting skills of the bandits. They only manage to hold on to the gold after a clever and skilled drunken hero known as Hai Tao (Philip Kwok), the Sheriff with a Thousand Faces steps in to aid them. As casualties mount on both sides, Hai Tao arranges a final duel with the Golden Arm Kid while a secret villain known as the Iron Feet Lad plots to take advantage of the outcome and grab the gold for himself. This film represents director Chang Cheh and his Venoms Mob in all their outrageous glory. The gaudy costumes, excessive bloodshed, manly heroics, and skillful fighting action are proof positive. The film is also a throwback to the vintage wuxia actioners of Shanghai and Hong Kong’s early Cantonese film era. What’s different, apart from the vivid violence, is the advanced fight choreography that shows off the varied skills of the Venoms Mob. While the film doesn’t represent their best fighting form which tends to give way to gimmicks, it’s still highlighted by impressive bouts setting Lu Feng against Chiang Sheng and Lo Meng against Philip Kwok.
THE KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM is available on DVD from Media Blasters’ Tokyo Shock label.
Revised on January 23, 2012
Chang Cheh • Genre: Kung Fu • Genre: Shapes • Genre: Wuxia • Lo Meng • Lu Feng • Philip Kwok • Shaw Brothers • Sun Chien • The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979) • Wang Lung-wei • Wei Pai