Story: Sze-To (Louis Koo) owns a nightclub, but he doesn’t take much joy from his work or anything else in his life, to be honest. He was a judo champion in the past and carries a lot of unfinished business from those days, while his current life has little going on. Without anyone or anything else to connect to, Sze-To rarely leaves his club and is going down a dark spiral. He has been stealing from a local crime boss to cover his financial mistakes, while also drinking nonstop, to the point where sometimes, he is unable to function at all. But when two new people enter his life, things could start to make some turns for Sze-To, if he is open to that. Tony (Aaron Kwok) is a fellow judo competitor who wanted to make a name for himself by challenging Sze-To, while Mona (Cherrie Ying) seeks to use his club as a springboard to fame and fortune as a singer. As these three lives, all in transitionary states, begin to intermingle, what will become of these three people and their dreams?
Entertainment Value: Throw Down is an interesting, complex picture that blends action, a character driven narrative, and beautiful, stylish visuals, resulting in a powerful movie that stays with you long after the end credits. The narrative might frustrate some, as it leans on characters over story threads and that means some aspects aren’t fully explained. As the movie progresses, we learn more and more, but I know some viewers prefer a more fully laid out narrative structure, so Throw Down might come off as hard to follow for some audiences. I think once you accept that this narrative serves characters, rather than vice versa, you can just take the ride and appreciate the unique elements here. If you’re here for action, there are some fight scenes and other light action present, but this isn’t an action movie at heart, despite how good those sequences are. I love the visuals of Throw Down, as well as the overall vibe, as it is such a stylish, even romantic movie, the aesthetic is so skilled and effective, I could get lost in the sights and sounds of this picture. I appreciate the risks taken in this one and while Throw Down is bound to frustrate some viewers, I give the movie a high recommendation.
As this is such a character driven movie, the cast had to be on point and without question, this cast is indeed right on the mark. The narrative focuses on three lead characters and all three performers nail their turns here, which is crucial, since the relationships between them are what drive Throw Down. As good as all three are here, I have to consider Louis Koo as the standout, which is a true compliment, given the other performances present. Koo brings such depth and humanity to the lonely club owner Sze-To, which is why the character works so well. As I talked about above, the script doesn’t spell out all the details about these characters, so Koo has to reach down a little more than usual, to do storytelling of his own, via how he presents Sze-To. I think the gaps in knowledge work to his advantage, as it allows us to connect with him in a more natural way, rather than because we are told to. The cast also includes Aaron Kwok, Cherrie Ying, and Eddie Cheung.
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