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Scenes I Go Back To: Duel to the Death

Exploding. Ninja. Heads.

What makes Duel to the Death the nigh-perfect film that it is? One word: ninjas. And not just your typical Sho Kosugi/​Octagon brand of ninjas. We’re talking flying ninjas, exploding ninjas, ninjas who combine, Voltron-style, to form giant ninjas — it’s enough to boggle the mind. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Duel to the Death, once you factor in the psycho monks, physics-defying swordsmen, legless tyrants, and more.

Duel to the Death is the kind of movie that, just when you think you’ve got a handle on its insanity, throws out something new that instantly ups the WTF-ness factor by another order of magnitude. The first time my friends and I watched Duel to the Death, we were reduced to howling in disbelief as just how increasingly crazy, absurd, and kick-ass the film got. And just when we thought we’d seen it all, it turns out nothing had prepared us for this battle between the two protagonists (and rival swordsmen), and a whole gaggle of ninjas and their bad-ass, synth-heavy soundtrack.

It’s not the climax of the film — that also needs to be seen to be believed — but I think this scene does a better job of capturing the overall tone of the film. After all, it has exploding ninja heads.


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