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Shaolin Prince and The Duel DVD Reviews


“Shaolin Prince” is wacky fun.

“The Duel” is an overly violent bore.

“Shaolin Prince” plot: Wanting to take over the throne, the iron fingered Ninth Prince decicdes to kill the Emperor and his two sons. In his attempted takeover, the Emperor is killed, but the two sons are hidden away from the killer Prince. Years later, the two sons (who are now adults that don’t know each other) finally come together to eventually fight the Ninth Prince.

While the plot may not sound like much, this is easily one of the craziest kung-fu films I have ever seen. Cult film and kung-fu fans will eat this movie up thanks to ridiculous wire-fu action, sword fights, a flaming sword wielded by “fire man,” a villainous “water man” character, 3 cartoony Buddihist Shaolin Monks, a possessed woman with giant fingernails, a magic sword that can “destroy evil spirits,” epic fight scenes, men with giant rings, and a climatic fight scene involving a chair. Simply put, the sheer amount of weirdness here more than made up for a few of the overlong fight scenes and the story’s simplicity. Check it out.  

Describing the plot of “The Duel” is a bit challenging since the film makes little to no sense. As best as I can gather, the story revolves around a violent gang member named Ti who takes the blame for the murder of his father (which was actually done by another gang) and moves away from the town he lived in to avoid the police. Why Ti deciced to take responsibility for the crime is beyond me. Anyway, upon arriving back in town a year later, Ti discovers that his gang has teamed up with the gang that killed his father. Now, everyone wants Ti dead and thus he has to fight for his very survival. There’s also a key subplot in the film about a mysterious bad-ass knife fighter nicknamed the Rambler.

The DVD cover boasts the tagline “So many blades, so much blood” which pretty much sums up “The Duel.” The movie is nothing more than collection of endless, mindless stabbings and throat slittings built around a pointless and non-sensical story. Seriously folks, it seems like half the population of the town is slaughtered in this film and for what purpose? I think even people who enjoy crazy, death filled movies would find this to be a repetitive bore due to the lack of a story. Skip it.  

Once again, the widescreen picture quality on these two Shaw Bros. films is spectacular. The colors are so vivid that you’d never guess these films are catalogue releases.  

Mandarin and English Mono audio tracks are included on both of these discs. The English dub is decent on ‘Shaolin,’ while it’s a bit on the flat side for ‘Duel.’ The Mandarin tracks are clearly the ones to listen to as they sound crisp and clear.

The only extras on both discs are trailers for “Ichi,” “Shinobi,” “Hana,” “Love And Honor,” “Daytime Drinking,” “Genghis Khan,” “Mushi-Shi,” “Ghost Train,” and the “Hong Kong Connection” series.

August 11, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review | ,

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