Duel To The Death

Reviewed by: sukting

March 08, 2014

Rating: three

How long

Every ten years, the greatest swordsman from Japan faces the greatest swordsman from China in a duel to the death for their nation's honor. As a duel approaches, Chinese champion Ching Wan (Lau Chung Yan) and Japanese champion Hashimoto (Tsui Siu Keung) uncover a plot to rig the fight. I happened to see this vcd in the library and borrowed it home.

Story/Introduction on characters
Bo Ching Wan(Lau Chung Yan) is known as "Lord of the Sword". But he is a peaceful and contemplative martial artist who has trained with Shaolin monks as well as a mischievous hermit. The hermit wants Ching Wan to win so he sends Ching Wan to Shaolin.

Kenji (Ko Hung) delivers the duel message on his clansman's behalf and spars with a senior monk( Yeung Chak-lam) . He defeats him and sneers that Shaolin has no capable opponent worthy of him. Ching Wan defeats him and goes to meet his hermit master the before his duel. On his way, he meets Ha Hou Sheng Nam (Cheung Tin Oi) who is disguised as a man.

Two samurais kill the puppeteer after he humiliates the Japanese in a story. Sheng Nam teaches them a lesson and Ching Wan is impressed. By contrast, Hashimoto (Tsui Siu Keung) the other representative is a firm and honorable samurai who kills his sensei as his final lesson before leaving for the duel. It is not his intention to kill his sensei but his sensei is masked and he goes all out to kill to be too late to discover his mistake. Sheng Nam tries challenging Hashimoto and loses. He doesn't like to spar with a woman.

Both pugilists are supposed to have their duel at Ha Hou Mansion. They are welcomed by its master, Ha Hou Yuen (Cheung Chung). Sheng Nam likes Ching Wan but is reprimanded by Yuen. Yuen is bitter that his ancestors are chosen as the representative but he isn't. He wants to restore his family glory and that is why he doesn't want Sheng Nam to be in her maiden form even at home.

Meanwhile, ninjas led by a Japanese official, collude with the Chinese wardens of the duel to kidnap famous pugilists and sabotage the duel for Hashimoto. He conspires with them to lead Ching Wan to get captured with the rest as he is born with no legs while Ching Wan is tricked to believe that the ninija's have chopped his legs off.

Sheng Nam overhears Yuen talking to Kenji to realise his plan. She releases Ching Wan to try persuading Yuen not to trust Kenji. Yuen will not listen to it and forces the two to fight. He tries to attack Ching Wan by surprise but kills Sheng Nam by mistake.

The honorable samurai, however, does not go along with the plan. Together, Ching Wan and Hashimoto fight the various conspirators and manage to free the captives. They can be found either in the forest or under the water. Hashimoto kills Kenji. Before his head explodes and it is already hung on a tree, Kenji

Afterwards, Ching Wan sees no point in going forward with the duel, but Hashimoto kills the senior Shaolin monk to force Ching Wan's hand. The two warriors engage in a gravity-defying swordfight around a rocky coastline. Both swordsmen become mortally wounded - Ching Wan loses an arm while Hashimoto gets two stabs in the chest. They separate and quietly stare out into the ocean.

Most favourite character
Ching Wan, he is witty and courageous.

Most hated character
Yuen, he is totally blinded by jealousy to pay up with Sheng Nam's life in the end.

Needless to say, the two actors are of top choice. Choosing Cheung Tin Oi as the lead actress is also an excellent choice. Her stances, dressing and beauty are totally flawless. When she stands out, I feel that she is like Chiu Mun walking out of the book, Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre. It is a pity that she doesn't act often as she shows depth in her role.

The plot is predictable. The most attractive part of this drama is the shooting of the fighting scenes. Cheng Siu Dong's first attempt proved to be a big success. Although not as outstanding as ‘The Sword', it has many breakthroughs in the daring attempts of designing the assassination skills. The final duel is bloody – both experts really duel to their deaths although one of them is forced to defend himself. It brings the Mou Hap fascination to a higher level – original, fast and entertaining.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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