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Duel for Gold

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/02/2007

Chor Yuen's first film for Shaw Brothers is a martial arts film that is quite atypical of the era. A security bureau is renowned as a secure place to store money due to the excellent skills of its chief, and as a result has rather a lot of it on the premises. This attracts the attention of several people for whom the lure of riches is greater than the fear of death.

The film starts of stylishly, with slow motion acrobatic action intercut with scenes of bloodied gold behind the credits. The narrator tells us that this is "just another story of men dying for money", but he'd like to tell it anyway. Next we meet two of the main characters - Ivy Ling Po and Wang Ping as sisters, putting on an impressive show of acrobatics.

The film's plot is not especially complicated, despite some deceptions and facades, but it's interesting because the characters are not the usual noble heroes and pantomime villains that we are used to meeting in the swordplay films of the time, even if they may resemble them on the surface. The film suggests that maybe the tales we hear about such characters are not entirely accurate (well, duh), and that they may have been driven by more 'human' motives like greed.

The film is definitely cynical, even quite unpleasant... there's lots of action, and some of it gets really quite gory... and the film seems to revel in that.

Despite an interesting idea and a very promising start, DUEL FOR GOLD didn't quite cut it for me... I guess I actually LIKE my heroes to be unwaveringly virtuous, and my villains to be motivated by some sort of inherent compulsion to villainy! Well, not all the time, but perhaps in this sort of film I do. Or perhaps it's just these particular characters that I wasn't all that interested in... or I just wasn't in the right mood. It is worth a look because it does stand out from the other films in its genre/time, and for historical interest.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/25/2002

Before Chu Yuan reinvented the swordplay genre with "Killer Clans" in 1976, he had already directed some 40 movies, including one of his first martial arts featurettes, "Duel for Gold." This is a good movie like most of the swordplay flicks from this era. It was kind of hard for me to like this one because EVERYONE herein is wicked and evil and greedy. But if you don't mind the evil characters, it's easy to enjoy, as the fights are okay and the plot is great.


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

I knew that this one would be great when they startedshowing slow motion action in the background of the credits. The narrator starts off telling us that this is a story of greed and he's not kidding. Fai Lai fort has a ton of gold in it and everyone one wants it all. Two sisters Yu Yieh and Yu Ying (aka Meng and Hua) start off performing in the street. Wen Li Hsien (aka Wen San Hu) is assigned to protect the gold and he is almost impenetrable. Teng Chi Yin (The "Lone Shadow") is played by Lo Lieh. I dont want to tell anything about the plot and spoil anything for those who have not seen it. I will say this, the whole movie is about a duel for the gold. It has all the hallmarks of a shaw brothers classic. Great sets, great costumes, great acting and story. Tons of plot twists and double crosses. Most importantly, tons of nonstop hardcore action. YOU WILL NOT BE BORED FOR A SECOND DURING THIS ONE- I GUARANTEE! THE ACTION IS NONSTOP! Tons of kung fu and swordplay. Lots of great blood spattering and some dismemberments. THIS MOVIE IS TOTALLY AWESOME! I GIVE IT MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.


[Reviewed by Adam Scott Pritzker]