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Death Duel (1977)

San shao ye de jian (original title)
The Third Master (Erh Tung Sheng, aka Derek Yee, in the role that launched his career) is considered to be the greatest sword master of the day. His displays of skill and strength bring ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Chu Yuan)

Writers:

, (novel)
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Third Master Hsieh Hsiao-feng, Ah Chi
On-On Yu ...
Hsiao Li (as Candy Yu)
...
Lady Mu-yung Chiu-ti
Yun Ling ...
Yen Shih-san
David Chiang ...
Mu-yung Chien-lung
...
Hero Fu Hung Hsueh
Lieh Lo ...
Hero Huang Ting
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fei Ai ...
Yu Mien Brother 1
Kwok Kuen Chan
Shen Chan ...
Leader of Black Society
Shih-Ou Chang
Szu-Chia Chen ...
Roadside Damsel
Tien Lung Chen
Yi-Hsiung Chi
Chuen Chiang
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Storyline

The Third Master (Erh Tung Sheng, aka Derek Yee, in the role that launched his career) is considered to be the greatest sword master of the day. His displays of skill and strength bring armies of challengers to his door, seeking the title for themselves. Not to be defeated, the Third Master fights evil, saves damsels in distress, and duels rival swordsmen to the death. Written by Ananymous

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Genres:

Drama | Action

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Release Date:

7 July 1977 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Death Duel  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Remade as San shao ye de jian (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

DEATH DUEL - Shaw Bros. swordplay drama introducing Derek Yee
8 April 2003 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

DEATH DUEL (1977) is another Shaw Bros. swordplay-and-intrigue extravaganza directed by Chu Yuan (aka Chor Yuen) from a novel by Ku Lung. Its release on DVD follows that of KILLER CLANS (1976), THE MAGIC BLADE (1976) and CLANS OF INTRIGUE (1977), all also reviewed on this site. The plot here is a lot simpler than those of the earlier films and involves fewer characters and, unfortunately, fewer fight scenes. It does, however, offer a fresh star in then-newcomer Derek Yee who plays a character who calls himself "Hopeless Ah Chi," a wandering, enigmatic kung fu expert who is challenged by numerous other swordsmen in the course of the film for reasons that are made clear in the second half. That's basically all there is to the film: various challengers pop up to try and kill Ah Chi until Yen Shih-San (Ling Yun), the only one who truly qualifies as Ah Chi's equal, shows up for the final bout. There are only slight hints of the interlocking clan rivalries, conflicting loyalties and vast spy networks that made KILLER CLANS, et al, so fascinating.

The film is beautifully shot and scored and filmed entirely on Shaw Bros. studio sets. The costumes are pretty snappy also. The fight scenes involve lots of breakaway walls and furniture and are often staged in extreme long shot, perhaps to cover up the frequent use of a stunt double for the lead.

As usual, the cast offers a number of Shaw Bros. notables, including dependable character actors Ku Feng and Fan Mei-Sheng as Ah Chi's allies and--in welcome action cameos--Shaw Bros. stars Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, and David Chiang. Also appearing are Wang Lung-Wei, Norman Chu, Yueh Hua, Yuen Wah, Chan Shen and Cheng Miu, along with many other familiar faces from kung fu films. As usual with Chu Yuan films, there are some lively and beautiful women on hand to spice up the action, although not as many as in the earlier films. Candy Yu plays Yee's girlfriend while Chan Ping plays a rival clan leader stirring things up behind the scenes.

The two leading men, Derek Yee and Ling Yun, are adequate but lack the flair of the aforementioned cameo players. Still, Yee makes an interesting hero--young, deadpan, and far more handsome than most kung fu stars of the era. He acted for approximately 20 years, but also turned to writing, directing, and producing and wound up making some key Hong Kong New Wave dramas of the 1990s, including C'EST LA VIE MON CHERI, FULL THROTTLE, and VIVA EROTICA.


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