Was wandering through the video store and found this movie in new realease. "Throw Down" was directed by Hong Kong director Johnnie To. He's supposedly very famous in China, but I've never heard of him. He wanted the movie to be a homage to Akira Kurosawa's "Sugata Sanshiro" (1943), the greatest judo movie ever made. The movie is fictional. This is not a documentary. The movie basically follows an ex-judo champ (now a drunk gambler) being hounded by an up-and-coming judoka for a fight, and an old rival at the same time. The Good: The movie is stylish, and visually exceptional. The sound track is really nice, kind of new agey, but appropriate. The production value and scene atmospheres are beautiful. This film is technically very, very stylish. The Judo fight scenes range from very average to extraordinary. Ironically the ground fighting scenes are the very best. Some of the camera angles really catch the feel of grappling on the ground. There's tons of triangle chokes, armbars, gi chokes, kimura's, you name it. Brilliant. This director made ground fighting look dynamic and believable at the same time. The throws, however, are not always as believable, and have an element of "Crouching Tiger" meets an Aikido demonstration. Too kung fooey-ish, not enough real judo. Good stuff, but not great. The director does, however, manage to catch the judo idea of throwing directly into a pin or submission. That's nice to see. The Bad: Not enough action. Plodding stroyline. The movie can't figure out if it wants to be an action movie or a drama. Weak story to begin with. Loosely organized. More about style than substance. On a scale of 1 to 10 a 7. But dudes! It's a judo movie. Go check it out, it's worth renting. Some good judo.