I watched this movie for the first time many years ago and honestly all I remember about it is the pretty sword scenes. Growing up watching wuxia, I want my fight scenes to be deadly, not artsy, so unfortunately this movie was too pretty for my taste that 1st time 'round. I gave it another try for this KDW challenge, hoping I'd like it more this time now that I'm older, and err… more in touch with my artsy side.
Duelist starts with a chase-down between the police force and counterfeiters, and consequently the 1st encounter between Namsoon and Sad Eyes. Sad Eyes is initially masked, but he is called such because beneath the mask is a pair of gorgeously sorrowful eyes.
Namsoon makes it a mission to tail Sad Eyes wherever he goes because he's a lead for the counterfeit case. He apparently has connection to the Defense Minister which means the Minister himself may be behind everything. But then she hilariously gets mesmerized with him instead (which, I don't blame her).
In order to investigate into the case further, Namsoon dresses as a gisaeng and attends the Minister's birthday. This event doesn't really yield any progress, except for our lovebirds to get more enamored with each other.
Long story short, it turns out that the Denfense Minister is indeed behind the fake money deal, and Sad Eyes ends up stealing his accounting books for Namsoon. The King warranted an arrest and hurray, case solved, bad guys gone. No really, it's just that simple. I've read countless reviews where people criticize Duelist's plot to be confusing and I'm left scratching my head as to why that would be. No offense (to the movie, that is), but the plot's so thin I can practically see through it. Perhaps some people forgot to follow the story because they got distracted by the prettiness instead. Overall, Duelist is all about atmosphere and imagery. Sometimes playful, other times solemn. It quickens and slows and rewards those who are willing to dance with it.