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Duelist (2005)
"Hyeongsa" (original title)

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Set years ago in the era of the Joseon Dynasty, the story follows a young police officer named Namsoon (Ha Ji-won) who, along with her fellow officers, discovers a counterfeit ring ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Sung-kee Ahn ...
Detective Ahn
Dong-won Kang ...
Young-chang Song ...
Minister of Defence
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bo-yeon Kim


Set years ago in the era of the Joseon Dynasty, the story follows a young police officer named Namsoon (Ha Ji-won) who, along with her fellow officers, discovers a counterfeit ring operating out of the area they've been assigned to protect. However, as the criminals aren't just printing up their own money, they also plan to use it to topple the economy and take down the government. As her investigative work continues, Namsoon soon makes the acquaintance of a young man known only as Sad Eyes (Gang Dong-won), for the way that he looks out at you from underneath his hair - he doesn't say much, but he's got that look and that's all it takes to pique Namsoon's interest in him, even if she shouldn't be thinking those thoughts about someone she might have to toss in jail. Of course, Namsoon can't deny her feelings even if the object of her affection belongs behind bars, and it's not long before she's starting to act on her emotions. Written by unicron!

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

martial arts | See All (1) »


Action | Mystery


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Release Date:

9 September 2005 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Duelist  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(uncut) |

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

a story to be felt/read/heard through the eyes.
7 April 2007 | by (CA, United States) – See all my reviews

I'm giving it 10 partially because its score is so low. The film, from what I know, was received as poorly in Korea also. I suppose it's not for everyone, although I think it's possible if one watches it one more time. When I first watched it, I hated it. It was boring, weird, and never seemed to end. but then, I felt cheated for paying for it (I watched it online.. small screen, still paid for it..) so I watched it again cuz I could re-watch it within 6 hours or something like that. And now I have the DVD.

This movie is very unkind to people who are used to traditional story-telling format in movies. We (at least I) usually want to hear things out loud. Have things explained to us. I didn't know before, but I guess we must depend a lot on the dialogues.

At first I hated some parts with its echo effects and how everybody would sing-song a line or divide them into neat parts as they would NEVER do in real life. It was hard for me to understand (and I'm more of a Korean speaker. Later I watched the DVD with the Korean subtitle on;;;) and very annoying. You don't get much of the storyline by listening to what they say. A lot of things happen that can only be seen and much emotion is conveyed through the actions/movements of the visual items on the screen (including the actors and actresses, of course) instead of being delivered straight forward in narrative 'words' to our ears.

On my first viewing I thought the film doesn't show enough convincing evidences or hows or whys of the main characters falling in love. It seemed unreal and to happen so fast that I felt they were getting away by themselves, leaving the audience behind.

But on the second viewing, it touched me much more than at the first time. I could feel how the characters felt and acted, how their feelings changed throughout the passage of the movie. Those things no longer unconvincing to me. This time, I was with them. I felt what they felt. (as opposed to just knowing what I'm "supposed to" feel) And after my second viewing, I could say this is a very emotional film. (not boring.) A lot of people accused the director of being conceited and just showing off how pretty he can make the screen look, but not trying to communicate with the audience.

But there was also a sector(?) of mania fans who viewed the film over and over again, raved about it, protested for a second viewing in the theaters. (cuz the movie was out of the theaters quickly for not making much money.) I think the reason is 1) the way of story telling was something that most people were familiar with. They were expecting something else. And 2) Maybe it just is a film that needs a bit more concentration or work from the audience. (more active participation?) Maybe one does need a second viewing to enjoy/appreciate it more. (but I've heard of people who loved it instantly on the first viewing. Maybe I just didn't concentrate or look for the right things?) Well. I own the DVD now. and I don't buy lots of dvds. Actually it was the first DVD I ever purchased. (although I still haven't finished viewing all the supplemental features;;) and the second one was this k-drama series. and now I want to buy the movie Bittersweet on DVD. (or is it Bittersweet Life? Don't know the exact English title.) I just wanna say that for those who really hated it and thought it was boring the first time they watched it, give it another chance if you ever get around to it. The chances are, you are not gonna regret it and will grow to love it like I did. (I think it improves upon repeated viewings. You see things you didn't see before every time you watch it again. the movie has lots of symbolism that's fun to try to figure out.) Hm. that was kind of a long review. but really, it's quite a lovely film, I think. ^^

7 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What happens at the end halifat_lili
if you want narrative or genre film, this is not for you. meowmeow70
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Im not satisfied of it mavruda1977
TIFF Screening dj_sam_r_i
San Francisco screening, Feb. 7-12 audreytmv
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