Abandoning his life as a judo master, Sveto Bo (Louis Koo) opens a nightclub, where he tries to replace his old passion with a thirst for alcohol and gambling. But when a new judo fighter (Aaron Kwok) arrives to challenge him and a former rival comes out of the woodwork, it’s time for the old champion to brush up on his skills. Turning his nightclub into an arena, Sveto Bo takes on his opponents one by one.
Following his directorial debut with the 1980 period martial arts fantasy The Enigmatic Case, To’s career came to something of an apex in the late 1980s thanks to such memorable action films as The Big Heat and tender, personal dramas like All About Ah-Long (the latter of which landed star Chow Yun-Fat a Best Actor award at the 1990 Hong Kong Film Awards). After taking the helm for such memorable action films as The Heroic Trio and directing Stephen Chow in such films as Justice, My Foot and Mad Monk in the early ‘90s, To moved into producing with the creation of independent film company Milky Way Films, a company which yielded such popular Hong Kong action efforts as Nai-hoi Yau’s The Longest Nite and Expect the Unexpected. Though To’s production company was indeed a success, his career behind the camera was in need of some rejuvenation, an issue which he readily addressed with the release of his highly praised 1999 crime drama The Mission.
Utilizing convention as a springboard… read more
Also: there's something beautifully cathartic about the scene where he goes to all the people he's indebted to or in trouble with and challenges them one by one to judo fights. Henceforth, let us all settle our debts in this fashion. World peace will be the result.
The scene with the stolen gambling money might well be the crowning achievement of cinema. Her running with bills falling out of her arms, him running behind her laughing. Her going back for the money. The absurd comedy of angry thugs on their knees, picking up bills. The way she catches a bill in midair. Him getting beat up to protect her. Her going back for his shoe -- and the thugs letting her go without a word.
It's hard to put into words how much joy this movie brings to your life. To has this magic touch of creating incredible sequences out of thin air. Funny, warm, with real human beings for characters. It's a never ending cascade of charm.