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Duelist

  • Film
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Time Out says

Coming a full six years after his breakthrough feature, the dazzling cop flick ‘Nowhere to Hide’, expectations ran high in South Korea for Lee’s historical drama, but the result proved a high-profile disappointment both critically and commercially. It’s not hard to see why, since this Chosun-era detective story throws away its exquisitely pampered visuals on a script which is paper-thin when it’s not plain confounding. When an upsurge in counterfeit coins threatens the nation’s economic stability, a female investigator goes undercover with a more experienced male officer to crack the case, but along the way she contrives to fall for the chief suspect, a masked master swordsman known only as ‘Sad Eyes’. Leading lady Ha Ji-weon is happier doing tomboy-ish pluck than moon-faced romance, while the whole conceit of putting the would-be lovers through choreographed exchanges, which are as much mating dance as sword-swishing combat, looks ravishing but carries zero conviction in terms of the policier plot. Clearly, Lee has an extraordinary eye, but wilful self-indulgence leads him astray here.
Written by Trevor Johnston

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 9 March 2007
  • Duration:108 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Lee Myung-Se
  • Screenwriter:Lee Myung-Se, Hae-jyung Lee
  • Cast:
    • Ji-won Ha
    • Ahn Sung-Kee
    • Dong-won Kang
    • Song Young-Chang
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