Criterion’s latest Hong Kong cinema flex comes by way of Johnnie To’s 2004 crime drama, Throw Down. Pre-orders are now up and running for the fully-loaded Blu-Ray releasing on September 21, 2021.
Louis Koo plays a former judo champion-turned-alcoholic forced to mitigate his debts with loansharks as he struggles to operate his evening bar and lounge. Crossing paths with an eager and gifted judo fighter looking to challenge him to a match, and an aspiring singer looking for fame and a way out of Hong Kong, the trio embark on a journey that runs wild with brooding drama, comedy, martial arts thrills and cinematic poetry.
This one is a cult favorite among Johnnie To collectivists and Asian movie fans. It took a while for me to see it myself at some point and thankfully, you can find the film streaming at Hi-YAH! if you live in the states. Otherwise, Criterion’s offering guarantees a physical medium for the masses that’s totally worth keeping.
Read the billing and specs below and pre-order your copy today!
One of the most personal films by the prolific Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To is a thrilling love letter to both the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and the art and philosophy of judo. Amid the neon-drenched nightclubs and gambling dens of Hong Kong’s nocturnal underworld, the fates of three wandering souls—a former judo champion now barely scraping by as an alcoholic bar owner (Louis Koo), a young fighter (Aaron Kwok) intent on challenging him, and a singer (Cherrie Ying) chasing dreams of stardom—collide in an operatic explosion of human pain, ambition, perseverance, and redemption. Paying offbeat homage to Kurosawa’s debut feature, Sanshiro Sugata, To scrambles wild comedy, flights of lyrical surrealism, and rousing martial-arts action into what is ultimately a disarmingly touching ode to the healing power of friendship.
Coming soon, available Sep 21, 2021
• New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Interview from 2004 with director Johnnie To
• New interviews with coscreenwriter Yau Nai-hoi, composer Peter Kam, and film scholars David Bordwell and Caroline Guo
• Short making-of documentary from 2004 featuring To and actors Louis Koo, Aaron Kwok, Cherrie Ying, and Tony Leung Ka-fai
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Sean Gilman
• New cover by Jeremy Enecio
H/T: City On Fire