Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Duel (1971)

I really enjoyed watching this movie. I think this is one of the best Shaw Brothers movies I've seen. It features Ti Lung and David Chiang in their mid-twenties. A few months ago when I was browsing through Shaw Brothers movies, I wondered why it was not easy to find a movie with these two actors starring together; but lately I read (a rumor?) that these two had had a discordance and refused to be in the same project. If they shared a movie, it must be in their early career.

Ti Lung played Tang Ren-ji, a godson of a triad leader, Shen. Shen had two trusted subordinates who daily took care of his business: Gan and Tang Ren-lin (Ren-ji's brother). Gan hired Jian Nan (played by David Chiang) to kill Shen and made it look like Shen accidentally died in a mass fight. This event happened in modern China - unlike in traditional kung-fu films where a swordsman can kill anybody and need not to worry about going to jail afterwards - and the police would come to investigate. Ren-ji agreed to shoulder the blame, so he had to go away for one year until the matter subsided.

A year passed and they had stopped sending Ren-ji money. Furthermore, there were strangers wanted to kill him. Ren-ji went back and found that his brother had been kicked out from the organization, his girlfriend sold to a brothel, and Gan was behind his godfather's death. To avenge his godfather, Ren-ji got help from Jian Nan, who had regretted for killing Shen and wanted to right his wrongdoing.

The fight scenes were very good. There was really a duel between Ti Lung and David Chiang, but this scene was not long. I did not really like the ending and hoped instead that the two young heroes could walk hand in hand into the sunset -- or something like that.

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