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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
I have gone into this film very excited as I have become a Johnnie To fan only recently. After seeing both Election movies and PTU, I have been totally amazed at the quality of director he is and how good his films can be. Throw Down continues my fan-ship of Mr To in style. I have always felt that wires and stunt doubles ruin films, no matter what the genre, and this is something Mr To seems to share with me. The fighting style of Judo is perfect for the physical aspect of the film. The actors can get close and throw each other to the ground without need of propelling themselves over bamboo trees, which is great.
The three main leads, Sze-To, Tony and Mona are pretty good. Though Mona seems to aimlessly wonder through the film and really only serve as a third wheel at times, she is a nice enough support for the muscle of the film. Louise Koo is amazing as Sze-To, the former champ turned club owner. His drunken and dazed, followed by angered and determined emotions are all portrayed brilliantly. I was even surprised by Aaron Kwok, who is great as the eager Judo fighter, travelling from fight to fight, and spurring Sze-To into his renewed sense of fight.
The photography is spot on. The massive fight in the club is so perfectly filmed and cut with the Japanese vocal that it was a joy to watch. Even the simple scenes of clubs, night life, computer games room, restaurant, are all magnificently shot. And then, as if the film were not good enough already, the soundtrack, sound editing, production design (such as the Ext Judo Championship scene) and the screenplay are all as good as you could want. The first hour and ten minutes had me on the edge of my seat. The following twenty minutes had a more mysterious, what can happen now, feel, but it is all just perfect.
If you haven't seen a Johnny To film, this might be a good starting point, but be warned, he makes no excuses and feels no obligation to explain anything about anything, it's often left to the viewer to determine the why and the how. This, for me, is what film-making is all about.
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