“THE KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM” (Chang Cheh, 1979) **
An average kung-fu entry from the “FIVE DEADLY VENOMS” team, headed by the ridiculously prolific filmmaker Chang Cheh. This bootleg was in such shitty quality (not only was the aspect ratio stretched, but there wasn’t a second audio stream of unrelated music – including Aretha Franklin – dubbed over the film at a low-but-still-distracting volume) that I don’t feel comfortable giving this one a full review. But, like “VENOMS”, it sets up a ‘league’ of villains, and then watches the hero battle through them one-by-one. Kuo Choi is decent at best in the lead, though his talents aren’t nearly as apparent as some of his other 70s peers.
The combat here is pretty slow by Shaw Brothers standards, and the strikes are accordingly underwhelming. Still, the cartoonish plot and lightning-fast pace (it’s under 85 minutes) are more than enough to please fans of the genre in search of an entertaining time killer. This is perfectly acceptable filmmaking.
NOTE: I recently learned what I saw was a butchered cut created for the US market, so the Asian cut is almost certainly superior.