HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
   
 
  Duelist Coining It InBuy this film here.
Year: 2005
Director: Lee Myung-se
Stars: Ha Ji-won, Ahn Sung-kee, Kang Dong-won, Song Young-chang, Kim Bo-yeon
Genre: Martial Arts, Romance, Historical
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's a tale told of a blacksmith who ventured out into a night time summer storm to go fix a lady's brass chamber pot. This did strike him as strange, and the lady was acting very oddly, but he opted to refuse payment in return for nourishment. However, she invited him to follow her up a ladder and when he caught sight of her behind as she climbed up - well, the story isn't finished because that's not the reason we're here, and besides one of the other customers in the bar has asked in no uncertain terms that such vulgarity be ceased. The character we're supposed to be following is Namsoon (Ha Ji-won), an undercover detective on the trail of counterfeiters. But she isn't anticipating what she will encounter in her investigations...

...affairs of the heart, naturally. Duelist, aka Hyeongsa, was one of the martial arts films to emerge from South Korea that placed the emphasis firmly on style, and truly it looked fantastic, a veritable kaleidoscope of colour, light and shade. But all the style in the world would not compensate for a limp story, and to that end writer and director Lee Myung-se, scripting with Lee Hae-jyung, decided to keep things simple. It was the old "fighting between members of the opposite sex as courtship" chestnut once again, we'd seen it before and for sure we'd see it again, but this time there was an overbalance between the potential lovers.

The reason is that tough girl Namsoon was delightfully portrayed by Ji-won Ha, not afraid to shout her head off or look daft if the scene demanded it, yet still look glamorous and believable as an object of desire: it's obvious what the man she has her sights set on sees in her, and a nice change from the male offering the source of the humour and eccentricity. Not only that, but her action sequences are convincing too, as Namsoon fights with two daggers rather than a sword and flings herself around the screen as if martial arts were going out of fashion. The thing is, the leading lady is so appealing that her counterpart, the mysterious Sad Eyes (Kang Dong-won) layers on the enigma so far that he grows dangerously close to being a cypher.

What draws Namsoon and Sad Eyes together is the counterfeiting scandal, but how is the swordsman involved? The first time they meet Sad Eyes is wearing a mask and a wig of long white hair, but the detective is so skilled in combat she manages to stall him as he battles the criminals who are trying to make off with incriminating coins. It's not long before those coins are flooding the market, and it transpires that there's a conspiracy held to bring down the government by destroying the ecnomomy. Could it be that an ex-general and now government minister is behind all this? Could be. Namsoon and her sidekick must inflitrate the minister's mansion, but Sad Eyes has had the same idea and now that they're aware of a definite attraction between them, how will they resolve their relationship, if at all? There are a variety of techniques employed to sustain the visuals, even speeding up the film and using freeze frames, but it's Hwang Ki-seok's photography that you'll remember, that and the female lead's quirky allure. Music by Jo Sung-woo.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2565 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: