Almost No DUEL To Speak Of!
Edward Lee | 08/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE DUEL is the kind of film that gains a solid reputation by the talent involved (the ever-reliable Andy Lau, Ekin Cheng, Patrick Tam, Nick Cheung, etc.), despite the fact that the story -- a "duel to end all duels" between the God of Swords and a member of the royal family -- is medicore, at best, riddled with bad jokes, confusing dialogue, and unexplored relationships.
Yek Koo Sing (Lau) requests he be granted "the duel" with the God of Swords, and the Emperor reluctantly agrees ... however, the man sends (agent) Dragon 9 to investigate, despite the fact that there is very little to investigate, as the viewers is soon to learn.
While the special effects for THE DUEL are especially good throughout, they're also annoyingly intrusive to the storyline: during the climactic final sword battle between the God of Swords and Yek Koo Sing, there is plenty of metal clanking and flash lightning despite the fact that the two opponents rarely even touch swords! While much of the battle is symbolic, it's still a very unusual creative choice made by the folks behind the film.
While this duel apparently has spawned more than four films, over 10 television series, and many books, the story is reduced to a battle which lasts less than five minutes in a (roughly) two hour film. The rest of the film centers upon a series a unsignificant romances, incidental secondary battles, and crude sophmoric humor. Was it the writer's intent to turn this epic struggle into a comedy? If it wasn't, then the film suffers from horrific editing, as the first hour is primarily a study in using foul language.
Still, it's hard not to recognize the merits of THE DUEL. It is well-edited and well-photographed, and, for the most part, the performers all hit their marks. Andy Lau -- when he's given the chance -- brings greater focus and depth to the picture, though he appears miscast here."
Good Movie, Lousy DVD
Edward Lee | 11/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this movie more than most reviewers here did. I am a fan of Hong Kong/martial arts movies, but that doesn't mean that they all have to feature endless fight scenes. This one has only three good action scenes, but the rest of the movie is entertaining and well done, and well worth seeing. But the DVD sucks! I dislike any non-anamorphic DVDs, and with this one it was impossible to find the right aspect ratio to watch it in. Plus the video transfer was poor; very soft, with muted colors. And one thing I've never seen before - the time references were coded by layer. When you start the movie, it shows it as being only 50-some minutes long. Then when it switches to the second layer (a unusually long delay, by the way), the time notation start over from zero again. Very odd. I'd buy this movie in a second if they would release a decent version of it on DVD. For such a recent, highly-regarded film, this DVD is shockingly bad. That makes it hard to rate; I gave it 4 stars because of the movie itself. But the DVD gets one star."
More of a mystery than an action movie
punkviper | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 09/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just to reiterate the facts already stated by previous reviewers, this movie does NOT feature endless swordplay. There are a few isolated and mostly brief swordfighting scenes, most of which are of a "supernatural" nature (plenty of gravity-defying stunts, little actual bloodshed.) It seems like the filmmakers had already had their fun making Storm Riders, and decided to focus a little more on story this time around.Slightly misleading is the cover featuring popular actors Ekin Cheng and Andy Lau. Both of which feature prominently in the story, but neither of which has the most screen time. Agent #9 is the investigator who spends the bulk of the film making saucy wisecracks or solving the mystery of a killer on the loose. The ending, to me at least, was a surprise, which should be a decent payoff for a slowly-paced film such as this. Which is good, since the final battle scene ("The Duel" if you will) is too short and anti-climactic for being the crescendo of the entire movie.Plenty of love-interest storylines, plenty of innuendo jokes, some swordfighting, a large cast, and in general a solid film. Just don't be expecting Crouching Tiger, Iron Monkey, or Dragon Inn, and you won't be disappointed."
This movie was amazing!!
J. Ononuju | 06/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't beleive how breathtaking this movie was. It may not have been all sword-fighting, but it was wonderful. Many of the other reviews on this movie are inaccurate, watch the movie for yourself. I would recommend renting it first, I would also recommend watching the subtitiled version first. Subtitile versions make a whole lot more sense than edited dubbed versions. Alot of the jokes are very funny, even if you aren't chinese you will get them, I did and I am not even asian.
On to the review, it basically stars Snow, the Sword Saint, Dragon 9, Imperial Police Detective and Snow's closest friend, Yip Ku-sing, and the God of Fighting. The God of Fighting challenges Snow to a dule atop of the Imperial Palace to see who is the greatest swordsman alive. But things go wrong before the actual duel, prompting Dragon 9 to investigate and find out what is going wrong. To tell anymore would spoil the movie, but I am sure this movie will amze you.
My last final piece of advice,remember its a fantasy."