Musical impresario and bandleader Szeto Bo was once a judo expert but impending blindness has left him demoralised, seeking solace in the bottle. Judo buff Leather Tony, attracted by Szeto’s reputation, comes to challenge the former champion.
A distant tribute to Akira Kurosawa, Throw Down is one of Johnnie To’s finest successes. The mise en scène develops around bodies in action in a real visual ballet that somehow evades us. With hardly any dramatisation, the filmmaker manages to make his love of movement the true subject matter of the film, and offers us a fascinating filmic object, suspended like the bodies that are airborne for a few seconds and then land, read to take off once more.