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The Duel

poster artwork from The Duel
Chinese: 決戰紫禁之巔  
Year: 2000  
Director: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung  
Producer: Wong Jing, Manfred Wong  
Action: Ching Siu-Tung  
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin, Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Vicki Zhao Wei, Kristy Yeung Kung-Yu, Patrick Tam Yiu-Man, Tin Sum, Tsui Kam-Kong, Wong Yat-Fei, Tsui Siu-Keung, Ng Chi-Hung, Jerry Lamb Hiu-Fung, Ronald Wong Ban, David Lee Seung-Man
The Skinny: Old-school wuxia comedy gets a glossy makeover complete with Storm Riders-style special effects. Suitable Lunar New Year entertainment.
by Kozo:

Rushed kung-fu comedy arrives with a pleasant dose of retro HK fun just in time for the 2000 New Year. The story of master swordsmen Yip Koo-Sing and Sai Mun Chiu Suet is retold by the Storm Riders team with fab special effects and megastars in the lead roles.

Andy Lau is Yip Koo-Sing (called Cool Son Yeh in the subtitles), master of the Heavenly Flying Fairy Stance. He wishes to have a duel with dour swordsman Sai Mun Chiu Suet (Ekin Cheng, called Simon the Snow Blower in the subs). The buzz surrounding their duel causes a flury of excitement, and the Emperor (Patrick Tam) issues 8 gold medals that allow the bearer passage to the Forbidden City when the Duel takes place. 

In charge of distributing the medals is Luk Siu-Fung AKA Dragon 9, given screen life by ubiquitous funnyman Nick Cheung. However, things get difficult when a bunch of murders turn up and Simon is fingered as the guilty party. Aiding him in his investigation is Mainland sensation Vicki Zhao as Princess Phoenix, who handles all the giggly comedy relief as well as the role of Yip Koo-Sing’s love-interest. And then things get wackier. 

Unlike the earnest drama of A Man Called Hero or the epic fantasy of The Storm Riders, The Duel is merely old HK given a fancy new package. The uneven silliness and fluid fight choreography is reminiscent of early nineties wuxia comedies, but the excellent special effects update the action. Nothing too special happens here, but by now this sort of all-star flying kung-fu action is practically extinct. One can overlook the messiness of the plot or Ekin Cheng's robot-like performance because this movie provides exactly what it should: ninety minutes of amusement. (Kozo 2000)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable Chinese and English Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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image courtesy of Chinastar Entertainment Group Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen