A former judo champion quits the tournament cirucit and runs a nightclub. However, when a new challenger appears as well as an old rival and a judo master in need of reviving his school, the young man must go back in training and prepare for the ultimate challenge. Written by
Akira Kurosawa's first film was a martial arts film: Sanshiro Sugata. This is almost never seen in the west; and I confess I haven't seen it. But I know what Akira Kurosawa did in film, and I have more than a general sense of his style and his concerns - what makes a Kurosawa film identifiably Kurosawa.
Johnnie To's tribute to Akira Kurosawa comes as a very splendid surprise. Not really a martial - arts film, this is the story of champion judo wrestler who, going blind, wallows in drink, gambling, petty theft and jazz (do these all go together?) Anyway, although the final 20 minutes of the film gets a little heavy, for the most part this is a humorous look at some Hong Kong low-lives, and how their redemption comes through the personal discipline necessary to learn judo. Even if you don't like judo, you will enjoy this film - very professionally crafted and acted.
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