Duelist

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  • Score: 7.7 (scored by 1,320 users)
  • Ranked: #1704
  • Popularity: #1310
  • Watchers: 2,456

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Completed
amrita828
26 people found this review helpful
Jul 17, 2011
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
In a word: beautiful.

Duelist is a painting in motion, where a lot is hinted and nothing is explained.



Some may lament the lack of a true plot, but on my part I believe a movie has different means of portraying a story than a book or a drama. It's based upon images, not necessarily on twists and events. Just like poetry is based upon the evocative power of words, not on facts.

And the direction used the cinematographic tools to its full potential in this movie.

I watched it with my mouth open. Beautiful screenplay, beautiful dance-like fights, beautiful just-hinted erotism.



Yes, the plot can be reduced to a 10 minutes narration. But so are a lot of theatre pieces, played upon style, movement, colour and photography.



Acting is wonderful, and so is the music. This is a ballet, after all.

Rewatch value is obviously high: I'll go back to it whenever I want to just sit and admire a beautiful, colour filled painting.

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Completed
Rourou
29 people found this review helpful
May 14, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
1) The reason I watched this:

I don't usually watch korean historical film, this was one of the exceptions since I had its DVD in one of my collections for a long time because I thought it was a historical-Wuxia Chinese film but when I found its synopsis and main actors in MDL, I decided to watch it right away even though it's Korean.

2) Storyline/Plot:

Do you love stories that would make you feel like you're watching a piece of art? This is it!!

Positive points:

*To start with, action films mixed with romance are one of the favorite genres that I like to watch and this film was just the type.
*Love through fighting was a brilliant idea that made this film's story so captivating because usually the leads are on the same side.
*The fighting scenes were nicely done; grafic effects and cinematography would make you feel like you're watching a piece of art being painted.
*The historical concept gave this film its great concept, it wouldn't be this great if it was in another era.

Negative points:

*The general presentation period didn't tell much therefore we don't get to know a lot about the leads (specially the lead male).
*The romantic story could've went a lot deeper; we haven't seen a lot on that side but that doesn't mean it was bad.

Story: 8/10

3) Acting/Cast:

*Kang Dong Won: I just love this actor because he always have unusual roles, here he was amazingly different. I usually love it when the lead male is mysterious, handsome, martial arts expert, full of karisma and I found all of that in "sad eyes" character; it was a perfectly portrayed character although he may sound very silent but he managed to deliver a lot of emotions: *Claps* I really loved him here.

*Ha Ji Won : In every drama/film, she can portray any character in a good way, here it wasn't any different; she was cool with her foolishness and manly behavior, she was the kind of strong/independent female lead plus she delivered great emotions. However, Kang Dong Won amazed me more.
*I just loved the chemistry between the leads because every scene they had together was interesting to watch; they were so cool especially in fighting scenes.
*I was right for watching it because of the lead actors: they did a great job.
*The general acting was cool and the supporting roles were acceptable.

Cast: 9.5/10
Acting: 10/10

4) The ending:

*Some people may not understand it, I would love to explain it but I would spoil it for those who haven't seen the film yet.
*Anyway, it was a great ending plus it was really logical for this type of film.

The ending: 9/10

5) My impression (How did it affect me):

*I didn't get my eyes off the screen the whole time, it was really interesting to watch. I am still wondering why I haven't seen it before.
*I was really entertained; i laughed, I was excited because of the fighting scenes, I was moved by the sad emotions somehow (I don't usually get moved by any sort of sadness so this is rare).

My impression: 9.5/10

6) Overall:

*If you like action films mixed with romance then this is for you but don't expect a lot on the romantic side.
*If you like mysterious male lead/strong female lead then this is for you.
*If you like martial arts film that's full of cinematography then this is for you.

Overall: 9/10.

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Completed
AdeNike
8 people found this review helpful
Nov 1, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Ha Ji Won and Kang Dong Won are really great actors!!! I'm going to be sincere, this movie is a little hard to review, I'm going to quote what I read from somewhere ''This is a movie to watch and enjoy, it's not a movie to understand'' LOL I know it sounds crazy, but that's what Duelist is.

Ha Ji Won's role is that of a rookie detective, she's really hot-tempered, her hands act faster than her mouth - she would rather beat someone to a pulp to get an answer, than rather talk the person into saying it. Not much is known about Kang Dong Won's role, apart from the fact he was a well-skilled assassin and he's highly, really highly reserved. Then we have the other cast, playing different roles, either to support or oppose the two main leads. We are in a corrupt world, which is no news. Ha Ji Won and a superior officer are asked to catch and stop those doing all these corrupt stuffs in this movie and that's how the two main leads meet. Then both of them are torn between performing their duties.

It's not just the type of romance movie you and I are accustomed to. I actually found it hard to understand the movie itself, but I kept on watching until the very end and after some few minutes BINGO !!! I got the idea.

The fight scenes between the two main leads were AWESOME!!!! Simply awesome. It was well choreographed; it was like they were floating,fighting and at the same time dancing. For a better understanding, try imagining two people dancing tango, but instead of the music, insert swords clashing and a historical setting...... You simply need to watch the movie.

I really don't want to spoil this movie for those who want to watch it. Somewhere towards the end there's this scene, where the two main leads are supposedly fighting...... This scene lasted for almost 6 mins or even more (okay or less). It was just the two of them, it was AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL and MAGICAL!!!!! I think I did say they were making love under a full moon.... LOL I know this sounds crazy, but that's what was happening. In this scene, she wants to catch him (arrest him) and he wants to kill her, but they are so much in love that it isn't working that way at all for them......... I did love to say more....

This is a good movie!!!! The cinematography, acting, figh scenes and down to the editing...... everything is cool with this movie.

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Completed
NewKDramaAddict
5 people found this review helpful
Mar 13, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I was enthralled with the cinematography! The sword scenes were amazing and poetry by themselves. The sword play/tango was so sensual, it was unbelievable; Something you have never seen done before and probably will never see again. There was not one kiss in this movie but the love you could see and feel from beginning to end, A lot of people complained about the ending but it was fantastic and made perfect sense to me.
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Completed
addicted2dramas
5 people found this review helpful
Oct 23, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
I would probably give this movie more of a 7.5 than an 8. But let's settle it with 8 I have been thinking about this film for very long but kept putting it off for some reason. Today, I finally got around to watching it and it pleasantly entertained me from the beginning to the end. This has to be my most favourite Korean movie yet.

I think this movie had a really interesting plot. Most of all, I loved the heroine. I like how brave she was and so skilled at fighting. She is very un-ladylike and goes around snooping trying to find a criminal aka our hero. That provides for a lot of hilarity. Plus, she has an amazing chemistry with the male lead. I love all their scenes together. It left me wanting for more. Koreans definitely know how to do romance.

And of course, I have to mention its extraordinary camera work. The action scenes are all wonderfully shot. It was quite a creative job done on the cameraman's part. Also, good direction and good editing made it more enjoyable. Towards the end, it seemed like too much action but again there were shots that took my breath away. This is were the best parts of the film.

Also, there were hardly any boring parts which would have made me want to skip some scenes. I've always had a history with Korean films such that they bored me a lot or put me to sleep. This is one movie which kept me awake the entire time. The ending was all sorts of things but not satisfying. I feel like there should be a sequel to this film. There were a lot of unexplained things so my thirst didn't get satisfied.

This movie would make an amazing drama because the story has so many small things which can be very well adapted into one. I would really love it if there ever was one with such cool characters. All in all, this is a thoroughly entertaining film. And, it broke my record of having seen boring Korean movies since forever.

This is a highly recommended film!

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Completed
Flo4ever
5 people found this review helpful
Jun 10, 2011
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
The duelist is a period movie, set during the late Chosun dynasty era. I watched this movie solely because of the lead actors. Although the actors delivered, but the movie didn't. The plot is quite difficult and intricate; its easy to get lost. It took me a while to grasp just what was going on! It starts off slow, but picks up towards the middle, when we finally get a hint of romance(The lead actor is totally gorgeous by the way ^_^). The movie features quite a bit of sword fighting, but not the martial-arts-movie kind; its more of an artistic fight. Freeze frames have been used quite a lot.



To sum it up, the movie was average for me, it got my hopes up in the middle; but it just didn't follow through. The story was not straightforward and it had me confused a lot of times. You should watch it for beautifully choreographed fight sequences; they were definitely the highlight.

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dramaqueen4life
4 people found this review helpful
Sep 15, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
frankly i jst knew one thing about this movie.it was Han Ji won and so i decided to give this a try.i was deeply enchanted and moved by the beautiful cinematography.the fight scenes are shot so beauifully that one even wonders can this happpen..Han Ji won continues to surprise me as her character Nam Sun is such a believable character.a woman surrounded by men on all sides assumes the same tone..the same manners.she's just so believable in her role.
Sad Eyes as a character is like the black knight in shining armour.though our mother says not to fall for such guys we always will.so that's what happens.the heroine falls for the wrong guy and i love this fact.he's a character with such depth that its hard to understand him.Kang Dong Won does a superb job playing 'sad eyes'.his eyes itself seem to speak to the viewer and im waiting for Dong Won to portray sch a character again

the chemistry between the leads is so amazing that its hard to understand how they can even breathe.the string pulled till taut with tension.their eyes speaking to such lenghts that the line between words nd visual blurs.they are like the two sides of a coin.near but still never together.the story shows this aspect accurately.

the music is so befetting to each scene that wthout the music one wouldn't even understnad the hurricane of emotions in the OTP's hearts..

after finishing this al i felt was did i just watch a ballad or an opera.in reality it doesnt even have many dialogues.the body language,the eyes and the actions do much of the talkng in here

this movie has many flaws too.like it doesnt have much of a story and how it gets draggy.the usual stuff but the good points more than overtake the bad ones.
all in all a wonderful piece of art

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Jeaniessi
3 people found this review helpful
Jan 4, 2012
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
I just finished watching this movie and while it is fresh in my mind I wanted to pen this review. I feel if I waited to write it, I might not like it as much or remember it's strange qualities. This is the kind of movie where you have to take it for what it is and let go of expectations when it comes to standard movie & storytelling fare.

This movie is very artistically shot/filmed. Beautiful cinematography along with inventive camera angles almost seems to be the goal rather than a solid plot. The Duelist is nothing if not beautiful to look at with a moving picture feel, light on dialog.

The acting is very well done. The sword fights are exactly how Amrita describes them; a lovely, potentially deadly ballet. I liked the comedic moments and the very slight whisper of risque and racy that also dances around in the film. The two lead actor's chemistry is palpable. Ha Ji Won is my favorite character in this movie. She seemed to me the one who had the most personality.

If you are in the mood to watch something a bit abstract and ethereal, The Duelist may be a movie you like.

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Ugly Duckling
2 people found this review helpful
Feb 1, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Okay i think i should write a review on my first korean movie. The movie that brought me in the world of korean dramas.

Story:
The story it's just simply GREAT! It has completely everything and u just can't get bored while watching it! It has action, political issues, martial arts and as we all want romance! The romance is not just ordinary romance because in this movie we see strong love and also forbidden one. The combination is absolutely amazing. The main girl is not girly and actually HAVE balls to go against killers which one of them is our main handsome man Kang Dong Won. I have fetish for long hair men so i melted okay?! With his hair, his acting and the mystery surrounding it...it's simply amazing and the best movie koreans ever made! The love is so pure and strong that i didn't saw it in other movies...simply outstanding and beautiful. I will forever keep it in my heart. I just wish there was a bit sequel. I know it ended very romantic but still....we don't want teasing. But yes it ended how it should be based on the characters. <333 I just LOVE IT!

Acting:
Everything was amazing. I concentrated on the main leads which made me to fly high because of their intense meetings. It wasn't JUST fighting...it was like confession of their love. Dance of lovers i would call it. The main girl Ha Ji won is completely my style. I am almost similiar to her...i just loved to see her bursting in pure anger and sadness...i just love it. After watching the movie u can die peacefully.

Music:
I have whole OST on my phone and i play it as a lullaby. What more should i say to it?! The one who did the music did a great job! It fit everything....i just must clap and do standing ovation...It's amazing. It can bring u tears to ur eyes even if u are manly as me!

Rewatch Value:
EVERYDAY! If i had the time i would rewatch it everyday because it's freaking awesome! Everytime u watch it, it feels like u watch it for the first time. It brings u back the same emotions!

Overall:
THIS MOVIE SHOULD GET AN OSCAR!

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Completed
rachel
2 people found this review helpful
Sep 12, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Admittedly, I picked this movie up to watch for the leads, Kang Dong Won and Ha Ji Won, so I really didn't know to expect.

This movie is very artfully filmed. Each introduction to a new setting is done seamlessly, in a single shot. Most scenes fade in and out, instead of cutting to the next scene. There is quite a dreamy tone to the movie and many of the important scenes take place in the dark or at night, which was slightly frustrating for me but I guess it adds to the mystique of the film. Each duel is filmed like an art piece, like a dance. Very well done!

Most of the story is not told in your face, but left to your imagination and interpretation. I would say the director assumes that the audience is intelligent enough to infer certain things and interpret certain scenes.

I really like the depiction of the relationship between 'Sad Eyes' and Nam Soon. There are insinuations of a romantic relationship between them, but I gather that most of their relationship is based on mutual admiration for each other's excellent swordsmanship skills.

I had only previously watched two of Kang Dong Won's films, Psychic and Secret Reunion. In this movie, he plays an equally mysteriously character, with very few lines and few opportunities to see that pretty face of his. I'm definitely not complaining.

Ha Ji Won is really good in this film, and I feel that she is the heart of this show. Her character is vivacious, enthusiastic and we can see the conflicts of emotions she feels on her face.

An interesting and stylish watch!

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Completed
JoyceBrand
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 23, 2016
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
The first time I watched Duelist, I didn't quite know what to make of it. It was beautiful, but I didn't really get it. Kang Dong Won and Ha Ji Won are wonderful, and they have incredible chemistry, but the story puzzled me because I wasn't used to that kind of story telling. I rated it 8/10 because I liked it.

I just watched it for a second time, and I totally love it. I guess I approached it as visual poetry this time rather than watching it for the narrative. Viewing it that way, it totally enchanted me.
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