Johnnie ToHong Kong95 minutes2004ColourCantonese
A tribute to Akira Kurosawa's early judo film diptych Sanshiro Sugata, Throw Down focuses on Szeto (Louis Koo) an ex-judo champion turned alcoholic club owner; cocky young fighter Tony (Aaron Kwok), who seeks out Szeto to challenge him to a duel; and aspiring singer Mona (Cherrie Ying), who takes refuge from her manager and would-be pimp in Szeto's club. Somehow, these variously maladjusted misfits come together to prepare Szeto for a final showdown with a former rival (Tony Leung Ka-fai). One of To's most idiosyncratic works, Throw Down features little dialogue, highly ritualized confrontations, and a surreal, magically transporting chase sequence laced with floating paper money that might be the most gorgeous single sequence To has yet created. Regular To cinematographer Cheng Siu-keung shoots stunning night scenes with spots of coloured light, reimagining Hong Kong's pulsating neon nights as a place of elegiac beauty.