Duel of the Iron Fist (1973)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Gangster Film, Martial Arts  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - China   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Duel Of The Iron Fist (better known to Shaw Brothers fans under its original title of The Duel) is a good example of the studio's famous "Iron Triangle" of director Chang Cheh and stars David Chiang and Ti Lung in action. Ni Kuang's script is a novel blend of gangster flick plotting, martial arts fighting and Sirk-ian melodrama. It also offers up juicy roles for the film's two leading men: Lung is a straight-arrow presence as the well-meaning youth whose devotion to honor is as intense as his fighting skills while Chiang offers an interesting contrast as a jaded, playboy-ish figure of mystery that plays everything close to the vest. Director Chang Cheh keeps the event-packed narrative rolling smoothly and punctuated with plenty of action. More importantly, he gives his matinee idol stars plenty of room to brood and uses their charismatic personas to fuel the intense, melodramatic mood of the narrative. In short, Duel Of The Iron Fist is a film where emotions run as high as the bodycount and its themes of honor, loyalty and brotherhood could easily be seen as an influence on the style of John Woo (who worked as an assistant to Chang Cheh early in his career). Any fan of the "Iron Triangle" should check it out.