I first heard about Xian si jue (aka Duel to the Death) when I was watching a video montage of martial arts battles. Seeing the over the top supernatural battles on that video – I knew I had to find this movie and watch the whole thing. The story is quite simple. You have two warriors – one from China, Ching Wan a master of some Shaolin martial arts style, and Kada Hashimot a master swordsman from Japan. For centuries China and Japan would have their best warriors fight in a “Duel to the Death” every ten years. Ching Wan begins to have second thoughts about the duel. While he’s contemplating going through with the battle, Japan sends in a ninja regiment to steal Chinese secrets and to throw the battle. In the end Ching and Kada duel in a literarly earth shattering battle.
In the beginning you start off with a ninja assault on a Chinese temple. Ching Wan anxious to test his skill literarly flies out to fend of the ninjas. The battles get crazier after this initial battle, only to climax with the duel of the decade. All of the battles in this movie are fairly over the top, but the story gets slow and a little confusing as the movie progresses. Ching and Kada meet in preparation for the duel and then they part ways for a bit. Why? I’m not sure because I didn’t pay attention. The only times I actually paid attention to was when steel was clashing with steel. This movie is worth watching for the intense battles, but the story behind it… yeah, not so much. I’ve watched this movie a few times and every time I tell myself that I’m going to pay attention to this whole movie, but the story loses me every time.
This movie gets fairly cheesy and boring at points, but you can’t beat giant stripper ninjas, graphic dismemberments, and people exploding. I would recommend this movie for the fights, but if the story starts to slow down, you should just fast forward to the next fight scene.