L (1971)
The Deadly Duo

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 05/02/2009

With a somewhat incomprehensible plot and some unintentional comedy, Deadly Duo isn't one of legendary director Chang Cheh's greatest movies. But it does feature the "Blood Brothers" David Chiang and Ti Lung kicking a whole lot of ass, so it's still worth your time if you're in the mood for some old-school action.

The movie take on the familiar tale of revolution during the Ching dynasty. Bao (Ti Lung) is a follower of the insurgent Sung family, and is setting out to rescue one of their princes. Since most of the Sungs and their troops have been captured or killed by the Chings, Bao must try and enlist the aid of a mysterious mercenary, Little Bat (David Chiang), whose motives and loyalty are not very clear.

Now, basically the plot is pretty simple when you boil everything down, but one of Deadly Duo's problems is that there's just way too many characters thrown into the mix. People will come and go, with seemingly no reason. Since Deadly Duo runs at around seventy-eight minutes, one gets the sense that perhaps some of the characterization was cut out. At any rate, when combined with some scenes that generate laughs rather than the intended drama (specifically a part where people try to cross a rickety bridge), the exposition presented here just isn't very good.

But Deadly Duo is saved by the action scenes. Helmed by Lau Kar-Leung, the fighting is fast and furious, and like much of Lau's work, there's a nice variety of weapons and styles presented, so everything always seems fresh. Even with the inherent cheesiness of some of the standards of the period (i.e., blood that looks like ketchup) the fight scenes are almost flawlessly technically executed and provide enough excitement to negate the somewhat crappy nature of the scenes that surround them.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/30/2006
Summary: Short but not sweet!

The Sung dynasty is drawing to a close, but a ragged band of heroes are determined to restore it by rescuing Prince Kang. Murder, torture, heroics and brotherhood follow.

This Chang Cheh film is just under 78 minutes long. That’s right, 78 minutes. I’ve seen TRAILERS for Chang Cheh films that last longer than that. And there’s no prizes for guessing that the Deadly Duo in this film are David Chiang and Ti Lung – who really must have felt like they were married to each other during the late sixties and early seventies. They even share a touching scene where Chiang wakes Ti Lung by tickling him with a bit of vegetation – I kid you not.

Anyway, Chang Cheh gets over the obstacle of the brief running time of this film by basically starting it in the middle. I was scratching my head for the first ten minutes, certain that it was a sequel to a film hitherto unknown by me. I’m still not 100% sure, but I don’t think it is. The result is a predictable feeling of “huh?” throughout most of the film. It really is messy and feels like it was banged out over a weekend while they were all working on another film.

Fans of unintentional humour will find a few laughs here. The scene in which certain members of the team insist on crossing the rotten bridge is very Monty Python-esque.

For all its faults, there ARE moments where it does get genuinely exciting, but these are few and far between.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 01/26/2006
Summary: Quick and enjoyable tale of self-sacrifice...

The Deadly Duo is a classic Chang Cheh ultra-testosterone fueled tale of loyalty and sacrifice for a cause. Bao Ting Tien (Ti Lung) is a devoted follower of the Sung leader Kang (Yau Lung), who has been imprisoned by the Ch'ing government and the Emperor (Chan Sing). After a brazen rescue of some of his captured revolutionaries, Bao is told of their dwindling numbers due to the scheming Ch'ings. In order to rescue the Prince, he needs to employ the help of one of the masters of the ability to overcome gravity, Little Bat (David Chiang). Overcoming his own desire to do only for himself, Little Bat joins the team and sets off for the Emperor's temple.

The Deadly Duo is an expertly-paced adventure that never lets up until the classic Chang Cheh ending. The action is fast and furious and features some of the top martial arts actors in the Shaw stable, including Bolo Yeung, Wong Chung and Lau Kar-Wing (not to mention the leads Ti Lung and David Chiang). The theme of self-sacrifice is evident throughout the movie, as prominent characters gladly give up their limbs and lives for the good of the Prince. At points, even the leaders look shocked at the length to which those will go in order to advance the rescue. Both Ti and Chiang are excellent in their roles, with an extra nod to Chiang for his ability to show Little Bat's initial doubt and mercenary-like attitude. Later though, he realizes the importance of the mission and is willing to pay the ultimate price. A very enjoyable film and a great ensemble cast.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mpongpun
Date: 01/15/2005

This flick is based on history. At the end of the Sung Dynasty, the Jin troops invaded Northern China and kidnapped Emperor Hui Tsung and his son, Prince Kang. With the help of some loyal patriots, Prince Kang is able to escape and then later setup the Southern Sung Dynasty as Emperor Kao Tsung. This flick shows how the Prince was saved and how Chinese history was shaped with the help of some loyal Sung Patriots.

Reviewed by: TheManInWhite
Date: 11/30/2004
Summary: David and Ti strikes again!

This film is classic Chang Cheh stuff here. Once again, another successful David Chiang/Ti Lung collaboration. Ti Lung and his men must rescue a prince but are opposed by Ku Feng, Chen Sing, the 5 great fighters (consisting of the 5 elements) and their army. Upon finding out where the prince is being held, they must find a light skills expert in order to cross a booby-trapped bridge which must be crossed in order to reach the prince. Enter David Chiang (well, sort of). David ends up linking up with Ti and his men to get to the prince.

This film is pretty action-packed and bloody for an early 70s film. Ti really delivers a great performance as a man driven by chivalry and honor. David also does quite well in taking up the same cause. Ku Feng once again secures his place as one of, if not, the best character actors the genre has ever since. The 5 element factor is quite interesting as Chang Cheh uses this aspect later in his career with 5 Element Ninjas. Deadly Duo is a definite must see for the serious or casual kung fu fan!

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/20/2004
Summary: Just fighting

This almost plotless movie lasts about 1 hour 15 minutes!! It takes chivary a bit overboard, why do people waste there lives for no reason!! You'll see what i mean, how many have to die before they understand IT'S NOT a GOOD IDEA!!

The only interesting thing in this movie is David Chiangs character. If it wasnt for this, it would get a lower score of