Thursday, June 27, 2024

Film Masters Series - The Crippled Masters (1979)


Film Masters is a company releasing forgotten pieces of cinema in newly restored versions 

The Crippled Masters

Cast: Frankie Shum, Jackie Conn, Chen Mu Chuan

Director: Joe Law.


Two men seeks vengeance against their former teacher who have made them disabled in this very unique kung fu flick from 1979.  Starring real life martial artists Frankie Shum who was born with thalidomide syndrome(no arms) and Jackie Conn(no legs).  This film was made at a time when disabled people were seen as merely just victims and in some cases are still seen that way today. The level of physical skills these men perform is astounding and puts an able body person like me to shame.

There are moments of the fights in this or just of them training that you think that this has to be CG, but it’s not.  It’s really them performing all their own stunts.  Now the acting is not all that great.  I watched this in both the original Mandarin and English dubs and I couldn’t find any big differences between the two.  It doesn’t matter because you are just having a blast seeing what these men can do.  The story is your basic revenge plot which is the basis for a lot of these films. I’m not watching this to be moved by these characters overcoming their odds. I’m here to watch them kick butt and boy do they ever.  I did like however that both characters portrayed by Frankie Shum and Jackie Conn start off as enemies before they team up together.

I can’t recall any other movies with disabled fighters.  The only other one that comes to mind is Chocolate(2008) whose lead character had Autism but I can’t think of really any others that had physically disabled actors as the main leads.  I can see this as being very inspiring for a lot of people and not just for the movie itself which doesn’t have a great story or good acting.  But just for what these guys were able to overcome with their disability.  I think a making of documentary would be even more inspiring to see.

The Special Edition Blu Ray from Film Masters  is available now and  includes these features

Full Commentary by Will Sloan and Justin Decloux of The Important Cinema Club

Kings of Kung Fu: Releasing the Legends.  A documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

Liner notes by Lawrence Carter – Long with a foreword by Phillip Elliot Hopkins

Original and Restored Trailers

The Original Raw Scan of The Crippled Masters and a video that shows the differences between the versions.

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