Edition no. 1092
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.
- Interview from 2004 with director Johnnie To
- New interviews with co-screenwriter Yau Nai-hoi, composer Peter Kam, and film scholars David Bordwell and Caroline Guo
- Short making-of documentary from 2004 featuring Johnnie To and actors Louis Koo, Aaron Kwok, Cherrie Ying, and Tony Leung Ka-fai
- An essay by film critic Sean Gilman