Critic Reviews for Duelist
Clearly, Lee has an extraordinary eye, but wilful self-indulgence leads him astray here.
The bent chemistry between Ji-won's screwball tough gal and Dong-won's effeminate wraith injects just enough charm into the overwrought stylistics, which veer dangerously close to killing the movie's rhythm.
as much a quirkily combative love story, or a kaleidoscopic reverie on the shifting seasons, as a piece of period police procedural.
Duelist turns from playful to precious in the last 30-odd minutes, straggling towards a prancey showdown that's as graceful as all get-out but as cold as the endless falling snow.
Proof positive that Wushu and Chan don't mix, this aims to create a new crossover genre but falls between two stools.
Audience Reviews for Duelist
Some reviews say this is all style over content, and maybe it is but I don't care. Beautiful beautiful beautiful historical film about two undercover cops (or whatever they were called in those days), the elder and staider Ahn, and the younger and crosser Namsoon, chasing counterfeit money and an enigmatic duelist called Sad Eyes through the markets and government houses of Korea. For people who love a pretty film.
This Korean epic story didn't make sense to me as what I thought it was really strange. In several swordplay scenes are bloody dull with a very slow motion and deeply dark through the night. At the beginning with the undercover detectives was quite funny, then in the dark scenes was boring that made me fall asleep - YAWN.
As seperate sketches or short scenes the film excels. It fully demonstrates large technical capabilities and an artistic eye. The final sword fight is simply gorgeous but seems more like some OTT advert. With all the impressive individual scenes put together in a loose plot that doesn't quite gel as well as no sense of tone the film is rather messy. Myung-se Lee's previous film Nowhere To Hide demonstated his visual and storytelling capabilities creating a beautiful and aesthetically original film. Here however even the music is all over the place sometimes being gentle classical before moving up to crunching heavy metal guitar riffs. All it accomplishes is a sense of doing too much and letting ones creative side take over the story.
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