San Shao Ye De Jian
1977 / 90m - Hong Kong
Death Duel poster


June 30, 2021


A typical, solid Yuen Chor/Shaw Bros production. Death Duel is an ideal introduction for people who aren't familiar with either or neither. It's a classic 70s Hong Kong martial arts film that showcases Chor's typical strengths and weaknesses, and does so neatly within the 90-minute timeframe.

Every century, a battle is staged between the best Chinese and Japanese martial artists, to decide which one can claim the ultimate title. The reigning Chinese representative isn't too interested in this showy spectacle and decides to stage his own death, hoping to avoid all the hassle.

Chor's martial arts scenes are no match for those of Cheh Chang or Chia-Liang Liu, but he's easily the most capable of all the Shaw Bros directors. Impressive set designs and smart use of color and lighting give Chor's films some extra shine. The rest is pretty basic Shaw Bros material. Amusing, but quite repetitive.