What happened to the movie?
Anthony E. Yensi | Houston, TX USA | 09/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Killer Army was the very first movie starring the Venoms that I have seen and taped as a child back in 1984. Sadly, my taped from television version, along with other Venoms movies, was stolen back in '87. But during those three years that I had the taped version, I cannot say exactly how many times I watched Killer Army. It was my favorite and still is. I was delighted when I was able to find another copy last year. It's not on DVD but I can understand what people are complaining about with the DVD version. The editing problems aren't limited to DVD, my VHS version is also cut up and edited, not to mention the audio bloopers. It saddens me to see that after such great fights, the end of the better ones are cut out copmletely. This was probably to... Well, to tell the truth I really don't know why. I mean, the television version from the old days showed it all, so why not the newer versions? Now when I view the movie I have to rely on my memory to finish off the ending fight scenes that they fail to show. It's my only way of making sense of it. For example, the move that the older blood brother Wong Chu (played by Kuo Chui) executed to kill the four spearmen during the final showdown was removed completely. Normally I wouldn't include a spoiler by revealing scenes or outcomes. But what I'm about to write isn't even shown in the contemporary version anyway. This is just an insight to help with understanding what actually occured in the film. I still strongly recommend Killer Army for any kung fu movie enthusiast.From what I recall, after being thrown in the air by the four spearmen, Wong Chu started flipping uncontrollably. In slow motion he was almost killed by The rebel leader Chan, or King Spear(played by Lu Feng). While Wong Chu was in trouble, King Spear jumped up in the air to strike at him with his spear. But the younger blood brother Yu Han San (played by Chiang Sheng) jumped in the air and put himself in the way only to be fatally wounded by King Spear instead. As the two blood brothers were falling back down Yu Han San caught the sharp spears of the four spearmen in his shield and held them in place. Wong Chu finally landed from the flip in front of the four men who happened to all be in a line. With one quick swing of his three-way nunchucks, Wong Chu killed all four men by breaking their faces (bap, bap, bap, bap). In the contemporary version you might hear the sounds of this incredible scene, but it's like those four just disappeared. Next, Wong Chu jumped back up to meet with King Spear who had already flipped and jumped back in the air. Wong Chu blocked the blow of his spear, and the now fatally wounded Yu Han San jumped up as well with is last burst of energy to successfully remove the spear from the rebel leader's hands, then landed flat on his back. What follows after all of that is shown.
People who didn't get a chance to see the original wouldn't have a clue about what really happened to the second blood brother Chin Chan Ping in the movie (played by Lo Meng). It would be too easy for someone who is not familiar with the original version to quickly determine this movie as making no sense. That's disappointing because this movie is actually very good. I wonder if there are versions being sold out there today with the scenes not removed? If anyone knows of any I would appreciate your time in writing about it in a review. My only problem other than the editing of Killer Army is that Lu Feng's mastery in wielding weapons was displayed briefly and limited to one fight during the movie. His potential wasn't fully showcased like it was in Shaolin Rescuers, or in The Destroyers (aka, Magnificent Ruffians), two more must haves. I would have gladly given the movie a five star rating. Only because it's Killer Army did I give it a four star rating due to the editing foul-ups. Yet, I do still recommend Killer Army for anyone interested in a good well plotted kung fu movie."
Early Venoms Action, with a few bumps
Big Time Gamer | United States | 12/13/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've watched all of the better Shaw Bros kung fu films, and have always been a fan of the Venoms. The fighting in this DVD is well staged, especailly the ending fight where the 2 heroes takes on 5 spear fighters. The DVD image quality is a little poor in the beginning of the film, showing lots of grain but fear not, the image gets better as the film progresses. A major plus is that this DVD is presented in letterboxed widescreen, which is hard to find in many of the old school kung fu flicks.The MAJOR problem with this DVD is the fact that many portions of the fights have been edited, to cut out the violence and gore. Key strikes, like when an opponent is killed are cut, confusing you on how certain battles are won. Its chopped up so badly in some places that the action makes no sense, even if you go through the fight in slow motion. Too bad..."
Mediocre Print of A Great Movie
Reuben M | Shek O, Hong Kong | 01/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A Five Venoms classic from Chang Cheh, and a personal favourite of star Lo Mang. Great fights, some character development, even a couple of female characters-- unusual in Chang's normally all-male world.This is a film I've watched, taped and purchased often in the last fifteen years-- and I'm sorry to say that the print chosen for this DVD is not a good one. There are sound quality problems, blackouts and repetitions in the sound, clumsy editing (it appears to have been assembled from two or more prints edited for television...). It is definitely not the best print of this film, but as it IS the DVD print, it's likely to become the definitive version, to the chagrin of purists who have seen it uncensored and whole."