Web Of Death (HK 1976)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/22/16
Cast: Yueh Hua, Ching Li, Lo Lieh, Ku Feng, Wang Chung, Lily Li, cameo by Norman Chu (Tsui Siu Keung)

A silly swordplay adventure about a devious member of the Five Venoms Clan named Liu Shen (Lo Lieh) who wants to steal the clan's most guarded treasure and take over the world. That treasure happens to be the Five Venoms Spider, which is supernatural tarantula that can spew toxic smoke and trumpet like an elephant. While he's busy scheming in the shadows, the film's primary focus is on a complicated love affair between a swordsman named Fei (Yueh Hua) and the daughter of the Five Venoms Clan leader, Susu (Ching Li). Politics, clan affiliations, and sheer bad luck doom their romance, which forces Susu to make the ultimate sacrifice when battling against the power of the spider.

While it's all rather silly, it's not nearly silly enough to be entertaining. The sets are fantastic and bathed in rich colors, but the giant spider sculpture in the Five Venoms castle is hilariously tacky. The acting is decent and the action scenes are mediocre, but the visual effects are pretty poor. Regardless, watching a bunch of armed swordsmen cautiously circling a palm-sized tarantula is pretty funny. Ching Li gives a strong and multi-layered performance, and it's nice to see her not relegated to a simple window dressing role or a damsel in distress.