Duel of Fists
"Despite its flashy production (most of it was filmed in Thailand) and groundbreaking ideas, "Duel of the Fists" is probably one of Chang Cheh's most half-assed attempts in the early 1970s."
- Mighty Peking Man
Duel of Fists (1971)
AKA: Fist Attack
Director: Chang Cheh
Producer: Runme Shaw
Cast: David Chiang, Ti Lung, Cheng Lee, Guk Fung, Chan Sing, Cheng Miu, Wong Chung, Yeung Chi Hing, Yuen Wo Ping, Yen Shi-Kwan, Yuen Shun-Yi, Yuen Cheung Yan, Chan Chuen, Lau Laan Ying, Tong Dik, Woo Wai
Running Time: 102 min.
Plot: Chiang is a Chinese boxer who travels to Bangkok in search of his lost brother, who may (or may not) be the Thai boxer played by Lung.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Fan Ke (David Chiang) fulfils his dad's last wish by travelling to Thailand to locate his long lost half-brother, played by Wenlie (Ti Lung). Here's the catch: Wenlie is a professional fighter in the deadly underworld of Thai kickboxing. Not only that, he is hounded by illegal businessmen who wants a piece of his success. With the help of Fan Ke, the two set out to fight the baddies, both in and out of the ring.
Lots of blood and lots of brutal action... well, kind of. I think.
Although most of it was filmed in Thailand and despite its flashy production and groundbreaking ideas, "Duel of Fists" is probably one of Chang Cheh's most halfassed attempts in the early 1970s. It's hard to believe that this is the same guy and literally the same stars that did the rock solid "Vengeance" and "Anonymous Heroes." Not that "Duel of Fists" is a bad movie, but considering its brutal themes, it could have been better.
Chang Cheh's direction in non-action scenes have never been a problem, but this one drags. At one point, I wanted it to end and yes, there was enough action; it just wasn't hard-hitting enough. The bad editing (or lack of) didn't help either. A lot of the bullshit could have been toned down like for example, the two ugly wenches; one did nothing but cry and the other was like a giddy Filipina mail order bride on heroin.
One thing for certain, this film is trendsetting. It is one of the earliest attempts at making action packed "tournament" films like "Rocky" and the "Karate Kid." More importantly, it was also one of the first films to showcase Thai kickboxing, a sport that was made a household name by Van Damme (of all people), over a decade later. Even Lo Wei's "The Big Boss" (also filmed Thailand around the same time) didn't take advantage of this brutal Thai martial art.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 5/10