|Index||2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE DUEL OF THE CENTURY plays out like an opulent opera, replete with some superb swordplay and an impressive array of costumes and sets. Unfortunately, there is also some bad Old School wirework and reverse-action camera tricks. These are unnecessary distractions. The print I have is pristine, which helps, but bad is bad and some of these fantastical elements are VERY bad. Lu Xiaofeng, the defacto hero of the movie, takes out anybody who gets in the way of his delivering a poison antidote to the afflicted Ye, whose "duel of the century" with Shimen is the highly-touted tussle of the title (which, by the way, doesn't begin to live up to the hype, a failing of all too many Fights of the Century). There are lots of twists and turns along the way (and more than a few booby traps rigged with explosives) than meets the eye (some of these political machinations make the Republican blackmailing of Bill Clinton look like child's play). There's also a visit to a "house of eunuchs," where our hero is manhandled (so to speak) by the Clientele. Lu sums it all up near the end, telling Ye: "That's the way the martial arts world goes: the more famous you are, the more trouble you'll have."
Tony Liu plays a hero (the same character from Clan of Amazons) tries to
find out why two great heroes are fighting a duel. Many of the characters
from Amazons are reprised. The usual Chu Yuan hijinks ensue. Yueh Hua and
Ching Li have what amount to cameos in this one, Tony Liu really has to
carry the movie. Too bad he's not given much to work with. His character
is goofy and annoying, and his only reason for getting involved in the plot
seems to be boredom and curiosity.
I must say, I thought Chu Yuan could do no wrong when adapting Gu Long works. This proved me wrong. It adds a bit of unfortunate comedy to the usual twisty "martial world" plotline. Even the art design is not up to the usual gorgeous standards.
Not awful, but not good. Stick with Magic Blade, Clans of Intrigue or Jade Tiger.
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