I am a big fan of the 1981 Shaw film “陸小鳳之決戰前後 / Duel of the Century” starring Law Wing as Lu Xiao Feng. It’s an adaptation of Gu Long’s “Lu Xiao Feng” wuxia detective novel series so the plot is one of those crazy-complicated intrigue type things. I’ve seen this film about four times and read the book and I still have no idea what is going on.
Basically, Detective Lu tries to find out who is framing righteous swordsman Ye Gu Cheng before his duel with wuxia superstar Xi Mun Chui Xue on the rooftop of the Forbidden City. As Lu tries to unravel the mystery, tons of cool cameo actors appear and mostly get killed. That’s the important part.
Entertaining highlights are a know-it-all monk who lives in a two-foot high hut and answers questions for gold; a fight in a eunuch (Chinese pseudonym for “gay”) club; the 10″ painted wax figurine a guy leaves as a clue to the identity of his murderer because that could definitely happen; and Lam Wai standing around being a Lama.
The actor Law Wing is extremely silly and here plays an even sillier role. The many ludicrous wuxia world situations in which Lu Xiao Feng finds himself as he races to solve the mystery are played completely straight, which makes his character something of a Chinese Pink Panther. I get a huge kick out of his totally-not-brilliant deductions and amazing coincidences.
And now I have to share my favorite scene. Imagine for a moment that Lu has just gotten a step closer to unraveling the mystery when his faithful man-valet rushes into the house with a package.
Did not see that coming AT ALL.
Did I mention there’s also a glitter glove?
“Duel of the Century” seems to be still somewhat available via Amazon and eBay, if you are interested. For more madcap Lu Xiao Feng coinkidinks, check out the superior film “Clan of Amazons” (1978). They make a pretty entertaining Sunday-morning-refuse-to-get-out-of-bed-gonna-pretend-i’m-still-ten-years-old double header.