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Throwdown (HK 2004)

Director : Johnnie To
Cast : Aaron Kwok, Louis Koo, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Jordan Chan, Siu-Fai Cheung, Calvin Choi, Hoi-Pang Lo and Cherrie Ying.

Synopsis
A former judo champion quits the tournament circuit 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.

Review
by Edward Tang

I read a review recently about Throw Down, which basically went into how this film was one of the worst he had ever seen. He so apply titled his review “Let Down”, which gave me a laugh for some odd reason. Now this is far from the worst Hong Kong flick ever created and there are a few shitty Aaron Kwok films that make this film look like masterpiece. Throw Down is directed by semi-great Johnnie To, a man who for the most part, delivers the goods when his flicks come out. All too recently, I had one hell of a time watching Fulltime Killer. But Throw Down goes into my pocket and basically rapes me with it’s beat-to-death story and worthless scenes of slow motion crap. Granted, this film is about Judo and the entire fight scenes include a bunch of rolling around on the floor, so I didn’t expect something great. But even though this film is short and to the point, it felt very long to me, mostly because I was bored. Johnnie throws in our direction, pointless characters whom really seem to be just reading their lines, rather than acting.

Reading the Tai Seng DVD case, it has a few lines that read “In the world of Judo, failure is not an option” and “no-holds-barred fight scenes.” What the hell were they watching? I guess the box had to advertise to someone, and why not losers like me? This flick came out in 2004, and I hadn’t heard of it until recently. Being a film directed by a good guy like To and being dedicated to one of the greatest directors (if not THE greatest) of all time, I was expecting something else. Tisk tisk, I doubt Akira would except the charges for this piece of shit in a box. The story was so boring, it wasn’t even funny. Basically Szeto Bo (Louis Koo) is a drunken fool who use to be a great Judo fighter (sigh). Oh and he has a gambling problem (surprised it’s not drugs). So basically the film consists of him and two other characters, a fighter who wants to challenge him named Tony (Kwok) and a girl who wants to be a celebrity of some sort named Mona (Cherrie Yin). So basically you see them freeing a balloon from the clutches of a tree, and a bunch of random shit, until Szeto’s master dies. Szeto then gets a lust for the sport again and begins to fight random people. The film then ends with him fighting Kong (Tony Leung Ka Fai), and finishing the fight they started 2 years ago.

That’s the film, they could have done it the Edward Tang way (alot of violence and nudity) but they decided to do it the artistic way. What a load of crap. But the story moved so slowly and some of the crap they put on the screen just made me scratch my head. So what was the point of this film? To show that Judo is a boring sport? To show that Aaron Kwok needs a well deserved boot in the face? The film just didn’t move anywhere, it was slow and frankly nothing special. There is a special scene that showcases Kwok taking on some idiot in a fight, and it looked like they were f*ckin’ each other with clothes on. Give me a break. Whatever message this film was trying to grasp at, was lost to me. Even the attempts at humor didn’t faze me one bit, oh yeah exploiting people with mental problems is really funny. The direction looked good but then again, running out of a gambling club in slow motion. Bah.

Man I probably should have seen the signs coming. Three actors I happen to not like are in this film in Leung, Kwok and Koo. Louis Koo for the most part, isn’t half bad, and does a pretty good job with the basic role that he had. Kwok on the other hand is just boring and does nothing to further his acting chops. Tony Leung is barely in the movie, and has one rolling around fight with Koo at the end. I for some reason can’t stand this guy, and him in the movie lowered it down even a peg farther. The woman, whatever her name was, was just plain annoying and did little to make the film better. Now the retarded guy was funny, and the typical fat guy named “Fatty”, I mean just hold your low self esteem on your shirt. But for the most part, the cast was reading their lines, I didn’t see any spectacular performances.

So is this film horrible? No, far from horrible, but just nothing special. I wouldn’t see it again, and I’m sure most out there, one view is enough. If you like Judo and Aaron Kwok, this will be your favorite movie. If not, you’ll probably get what I got, a half-assed story with scenes shot well, but just had no merit being in this film. I’m glad that Akira Kurosawa was mentioned as a great director, but Johnnie stop traveling down this road, or I won’t put you in my credits, when Edward Tang strikes!

Rating

Plot : 2/5
Acting : 3/5
Entertainment : 2/5
Overall : 2/5

Notable Scenes
- the judo scenes.

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Throwdown

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