Everyone (rightly) credits Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (also screening in this year’s festival) for leading a revolution in the Hong Kong film industry, but Duel to the Death, released the same year, deserves just as much attention. Zu burst from the fevered brow of Hong Kong’s greatest director, Tsui Hark, and his special effects crew. Duel to the Death, on the other hand, is the fever dream of Hong Kong’s greatest action choreographer, Ching Siu-tung, a directorial debut in which he could pack all the insane ideas he’d had in eleven years of orchestrating the action for other people’s movies. And what kind of ideas did he have? Kite ninjas. Giant ninjas. Sword pogo. Red wigged teleporting demons. And some of the most intricate, creative and unrivaled flying ever seen on the silver screen.

Part of The Wu Xia Focus.