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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Crippled Masters

Long ago when I was in high school, my friend Matt told me he saw this on TV and couldn't decide whether it had been a dream or not. Four or five years later I came across it in a Sam Goody (remember when they still existed?) and could hardly believe my eyes. It fits into a narrow genre I like to call cripplesploitation (I coined this in my mind about six months ago and being disabled myself it has taken on a greater meaning for me), and I am slowly searching out more films to fit into the file so to speak. If anybody can find me an NTSC vhs of "The Incredible Mr. No Legs" or can furnish me with a real nice bootleg please hit me up so I can continue to flesh out the hype.

Check out the trailer:

See? I didn't make this up. The plot is pretty standard Hong Kong Kung Fu fare, rife with questionable edits, a formulaic plot, and continuity errors aplenty. But you take it as it is with these types of movies, and I think its these qualities that give these films such charm. Take this and add the surprise element of disabled guys kicking the bad guys collective ass and you have something unique in an otherwise boring sea of films with poorly dubbed english dialogue and pleasingly overdone SFX (which for some reason seem to ALL feature the exact same english overdub voice cast which I can find nothing out about!). I know these types of movies aren't everyone's cup of tea but being such an oddity I can't help but give it a well deserved shout out.

As the plot of these films are SO formulaic in fact, I won't waste time describing it too much detail beyond man with no arms teams up with man with shriveled legs to fight the evil master who crippled them. What I really love about this movie and all martial arts movies) are the training montages and fight scenes.  The montages knock the hell out of anything you see in bullshit like the Rocky movies. They always feature improbable scenarios involving water buckets, punji sticks, and several hundred pound wheels of stone being lifted by or tied to someone. The fight scenes are strange here as each one has minute edits before many of the hits. I'm not sure if this was done to make things look blindingly fast or what but it is not the first film I have seen to use this technique.

This film is equal parts entertaining, perverse, and grotesque. I frankly don't know what else to say about it other than it stands out amongst the majority thanks to its odd main characters. The middle plods on a little, but the beginning is great, the fights are excellent, and the finish is both weird and satisfying. Highlights include guy with only one stub arm using a bo staff like a fucking wild man, and man with shriveled legs beating a guy up with his ass. See it, you won't believe it.

While I'm still on the whole cripplesploitation kick, I would love to hear from YOU dear readers about any other action films containing disabled people in leading roles. Don't be fooled because we have crutches or can't walk or whatever- we have rage. We CAN and WILL kick your ass if deemed necessary. Recognize the silent fury, KNOW THIS.

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