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Duel of Fists
Chinese: 拳擊


DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Intercontinental Video Limited
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese subtitles
Trailers, Interviews

Year: 1971
Director: Chang Cheh
Producer: Runme Shaw
Action: Lau Kar-Leung, Tong Gaai
Cast: David Chiang, Ti Lung, Parwarna Liu Lan-Ying, Ching Li, Guk Fung, Chan Sing, Cheng Miu, Yuen Woo-Ping, Yuen Shun-Yi, Yuen Cheung-Yan, Yen Shi-Kwan, Tong Dik, Lee Pang-Fei, Lau Kar-Wing, Fung Hak-On, Philip Ko Fei
The Skinny: A Hong Kong engineer must travel to Thailand to find his long lost brother who is a professional boxer having problems with he mob. A less-than-worthy effort from the great Chang Cheh-David Chiang-Ti Lung team.


David Chiang is Hong Kong engineer cum kung fu expert Fan Ke. His dying father tells him that he has an older half brother in Thailand. Ke knows nothing of his brother other than the fact that he is a professional kickboxer, but regardless departs immediately for Thailand. Meanwhile, brother Wenile (Ti Lung) is being forced to box for some Bangkok gangsters because he needs the money for a life-saving operation for his mother. He must fight Cannon, a boxer who is notorious for killing men in the ring. Fan Ke and Wenile meet and become friends, and after discovering they are really brothers, the two band together to fight the evil cookie-cutter gangsters.

Shot mostly on location in Thailand, Duel of Fists is not among Chang Cheh's best works. The story is predictable and the fights in the ring, though well choreographed, are long and drawn out with very little drama. Even the showdown between Cannon and Wenille lacks spirit. There is some improvement during the finale when the dynamic duo pair up against the gangsters, but the loud seventies pimp clothing that David Chiang sports is simply laughable and distracts heavily from the action.

Speaking of laughable, let's talk about the girlfriends of our heroes. Wenile's lady love Yulan (Ching Li) does nothing but stand around and worry for her man's safety. Fan Ke meets a nice Thai girl named Meidai (Parwarna Liu Lan Ying) who does nothing but look doe-eyed throughout the proceedings. In addition, she dresses in just as goofy a manner as he does.

Duel of Fists also features certain scenes that serve no purpose other than to promote the film's Thailand location. There are plenty of glamour shots of Ti Lung riding a motorcycle through the streets of Bangkok, and David Chiang even has time to sightsee at some temples while looking for his brother. At times, the film feels like a bad seventies ad for Thailand tourism. Viewers who are really into Thai kick boxing may find this film interesting, but that may not do it for the rest of us. Considering that Chang Cheh, David Chiang and Ti Lung produced some of the greatest Shaw Brothers epics ever made, this is less-than-worthy effort. (Magicvoice 2004)

image courtesy of Intercontinental Video, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen