Director: Andrew Lau
Producers: Wong Jing, Manfred Wong
Writers: Wong Jing, Manfred Wong
Stars: Andy Lau, Ekin Cheng, Nick Cheung
A reclusive kung-fu master known as "Saint Sword" (Lau) challenges another master known as "The God of Swords" (Cheng) to a duel. The challenge sets the city abuzz with anticipation and brings old rivalries out into the open. After a mysterious murder, an Imperial Guard called Dragon 9 (Cheung) begins to investigate and eventually uncovers a conspiracy to topple the Emperor himself.
Basically, The Duel follows the formula for many of Hong Kong's recent box office hits, with a large cast of good-looking people, lavish sets and big special effects. Many people have decried this latest trend in HK cinema, calling it too "Hollywood" and lacking that "certain something" of the films from the mid 1980's-mid 1990's. While I do agree that many of these films lack the power of the films produced during John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, etc.'s heyday, at their core, they provide some decent escapist entertainment. The Duel is no exception. It's the old adage of a little "something for everybody" -- action, comedy and romance.
You may not get any "cool points" with the HK film fanboys for liking this movie (my guess is if they had their way, we'd all be watching The Killer 5 or something like that) but if you're looking for a good way to kill a couple of hours, you could do a lot worse than The Duel. At any rate, it's a lot better than Lau's last effort A Man Called Hero, mostly because Ekin Cheng only has about 10 lines in the movie.
A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here
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