Hong Kong 2004
Directed by Johnnie To.

Gripping. And throwing. THROWDOWN presents a whole new way of seeing bodies in motion -- quick twists followed by loud thuds. Aaron Kwok is an enthusiastic Judo practitioner, who loves nothing more than finding other Judo wrestlers to fight. He is determined to wrestle the one-time champ, Louis Koo, who is now a miserable, debt-ridden drunk who manages a nightclub. THROWDOWN is filled with fights, but not of the usual "I hate you and want to kill you" variety. Instead, the fights are between people of all backgrounds who just happen to share a love for tossing other people around. The violent, bone-jarring conflicts are so well staged that you begin to share in the thrill, and even to smile at a particularly good throwdown. This movie is Johnnie To's tribute to Akira Kurosawa's SANSHIRO SUGATA (1965), and it stands out as some of his best work in some time. In fact, the production quality is so high one wishes all his movies were tributes to Kurosawa. Unfortunately, Louis Koo's performance is not up to the material, though he is at least above average here. Cherrie In, as his love interest, is also unremarkable. The supporting actors, including Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka-Fei, and Eddie Cheng Siu-Fai, pick up the slack admirably. And besides, the beautiful fights will linger in your mind long after the bad acting has faded away.

Rating: Recommended (Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 04, 2005.

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