Import Corner: Duel to the Death (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

Duel to the Death is one of the craziest martial arts films to come out of Hong Kong during the 80's and Eureka Entertainment is making sure that the film has the presentation it deserves.

Studio: Eureka Entertainment
Release Date: January 13th, 1983 (theatrical)
                           September 20th, 2021 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes 19 seconds
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (2.39:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: Cantonese LPCM 2.0
               English LCPM 2.0
Subtitles: English
Slipcover: Yes (limited)
Digital Copy: No
Norman Chu, Damian Lau, Paul Chang, Eddy Ko, Casanova Wong, and Yeong-Mun Kwon
Written by Siu-Tung Ching, David Lai, and Manfred Wong
Directed by Siu-Tung Ching
Rating: BBFC: 18 (contains strong violence)




What's It About?

Every ten years, a duel is held between the finest Japanese and Chinese martial artists to determine whose Swordsmanship is superior. During the Ming Dynasty, as the next duel approaches, the chosen candidates are caught in the middle of a battle between Ninjas and Shaolin monks. Only a Duel to the Death will settle the countries’ conflicts and stop the bloodshed.

Film Review

DUEL TO THE DEATH is one of the "you have to see this movie to believe it" kind of films. The premise is simple with two fighters, one Chinese and one Japanese, who have to journey to a cliff to have a "duel to the death". It couldn't get simpler than that. What happens along the way is what gives the film its lasting legacy. 

I dont want to give too much away, so I will tell you about my favorite scene:

A monk is walking through the countryside when the ground begins to shake. The monk doesn't pay any mind and continues forward. The ground shakes again and a shadow begins to shadow that of the monk's. Only this shadow keeps growing. The monk turns around to find a giant (at least ten feet in size) ninja standing before him. The monk stands his ground but the giant ninja walks towards him. The monk backs away from the giant ninja and readys his guard. The giant ninja then jumps into the air while splitting into five separate, smaller ninjas. A fight scene ensues. 

I remember when I saw this film with my friends back in the 90s. When this scene came up, all of our jaws hut the ground. We had never seen anything like this in a live-action film. Now, there are plenty of weird things that happen before this but this is the most memorable. Watching the scene today I was reminded of seeing it back then and being blown away by it.

DUEL TO THE DEATH isn't going to win any awards but it will entertain the hell out of you. The film is constantly moving forward only to stop on a few occasions for a puppet show or romance angel (that doesn't last very long). The film is always trying to top itself with each scene and we love seeing what they have in store for us. The film is bloody and amazing and just plain fun.



Sourced from a brand new 2K restoration, and presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, DUEL TO THE DEATH looks great! I have never seen the film look this good and I have seen it plenty. Grain can be heavy in the nighttime shots while lessening during the daytime. Colors are bold throughout with the blood looking particularly good. Detail is impressive in close-ups and the picture has a good amount of depth to it. This is another winner from Eureka.

Two audio tracks are here for our listening pleasure and they both sound great. Love the score and it sounds wonderful too. The English track is the fuller sounding of the two tracks.



Audio Commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng
Interview with screenwriter Manfred Wong (32m 28s, HD, 1.78:1)
in Cantonese with English subtitles
Duel Identity: Reflections on Duel to the Death: Interview with actor Norman Chui Siu-Keung (18m 57s, SD, 1.78:1) in Cantonese with English subtitles
Flora Cheung on Duel to the Death: Interview with actress Flora Cheung (8m 26s, SD, 1.78:1)
Alternate English Opening/Closing Credits (3m 55s, HD, 2.39
Still Galleries:
    Production Stills (37 images)
    Artwork and Ephemera (17 images)
Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer (3m 20s, HD, 2.39:1)
2000 U.S. Home Video Trailer (1m 48s, HD, 2.39:1)

The features here are nice. The Frank Djeng commentary track is worth the price of admission alone. He always gives us a wealth of information both about the Chinese culture depicted in the film as well as the film industry around the time the film was made. I will always sit down and listen to Mr. Djeng. The interviews are nice as they dive into the making of the film as well as the careers of the interviewees. The rest of the features are pretty standard for a release like this but I do like that Eureka is recreating the trailers that Tai Seng put on their releases in the States. I remember watching these trailers back in the day, so it is a real treat to see them recreated on these blu-ray releases.

In terms of packaging, DUEL TO THE DEATH comes with a beautiful slipcover featuring brand new artwork from Darren Wheeling. The blu-ray case is the same one that is used in the U.K. and features the film's original theatrical poster as the artwork. Inside, you will find a 32-page booklet featuring a brand new essay from James Oliver about the film as well as the original liner notes from Frank Djeng that were included in the U.S. Laserdisc release. Production stills and poster art from around the world finish off the booklet quite nicely. The slipcover and booklet are limited to the first 2000 copies. After that, you will only get the blu-ray case, artwork, and disc.


DUEL TO THE DEATH is an amazing film. It is so crazy that it will do just about anything to keep your attention. The fight scenes are really well done and bloody as hell and the film moves at a brisk pace. This is the type of film you show any and everyone just to see their reactions to the crazier stuff. This blu-ray is something that fans have been waiting for for a long time. Picture and audio quality are of the highest order and the special features are worth the time. This is a blu-ray that screams out to be in every martial arts film fan's collection.






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