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Crippled Masters, The (1981) * Weird & Wacky *
Genre: Exploitation Action Drama (Taiwan)
Starring: Jackie Conn & Frankie Shum (Fighting Life)
Directed By: Joe Law
Overview: When a couple of guys get crippled by their boss and thrown out on their asses to fend for themselves, they seek justice, vengeance and a Kung Fu master to teach them how to fight, regardless of their lack of arms or legs.
The overdubbing makes the acting difficult to gauge, but you already know when there's overdubbing that there's going to be some awesome acting. It's the cheesy to-be-expected cult Kung Fu overzealous hammy portrayal. That part is classic, but I can't say it's good.
The camera work is shoddy, but in a bad way. The special effects include the fluttering and smacking sounds of ninja combat (to be expected, but it got annoying). The uniforms are bland, the scenery is crap, (except for 2 or 3 locations), the blood is lame, that bad guy's scar is too 'glue-on'. Sorry, I don't care how cliquey it is, you suck. If the Kung Fu had been interesting or believable, I might have reconsidered.
The overdubbed, corny dialogue of poorly translated bad-to-begin-with stuff of nightmares? To some. To me however, and to most, you must take it with a grain of salt. Yes the words "Ha, ha, ha! You Fool!" is the most commonly repeated line in this, but it's cute. This is actually, sorry to say, the best part of this film.
The story has a good premise: guy loses arms, seeks revenge. Guy loses legs, seeks revenge. They team up to get their vengeance. Others might say that throwing in the additional big bad guard mercenary that's in the way of the big boss is a nice touch of subplot, but I think the whole getting back the 'Eight Jade Horses' is an unnecessary step, prolonging the film for no reason. Though the Kung Fu was more realistic when it was non-crippled combatants. The best fight were the ones in the restaurant, because there were props: tables, chairs, a bar, it was nice to see all that going on. Sadly everything else was basic chop-chop.
The mood also is a toss up. Are we pleased knowing that this is a typical Kung Fu flick with a twist? Sure. Does it suck nonetheless? Absolutely. Little things like the big bad boss's terribly stupid scar (that doesn't even get explained), the fact that after having one's arms chopped off, our hero goes into a restaurant and rather than having people help his gory blood stumps, they mock him and take his food away from him and beat him up. No, not good. Remember what I said about believability being the key in this category. If it goes against natural human nature, you lose big time. Buh-Bye.
Overall Rating: 44% (Crippled? And Lame to Boot)
Stupid movie. Too long and drawn out. Only recommended as a repertoire for people who need their Ninja and weird Kung Fu repertoire filled up. And then, only watch the first half, the end really sucks. It seriously fades to "The End" while the big boss guy is falling, to the ground. He doesn't even fall, he's just paused there! There's no denouement whatsoever, there's not even a climax for God's sake!