I’ve always been a fan of Johnnie To, and will probably always be one. I’ve seen just about everything he’s made from the 1990s on up. His 2004 movie “Throw Down” remains one of my favorite Hong Kong films of all time, at once lyrical, soulful, and beautiful — all set in the world of judo competition in the streets and on the mats. Now, with the release of To’s 2006 gangster film “Exiled” in America (Los Angeles and New York only, sorry), Johnnie To is finally getting some recognition in the American mainstream press courtesy of the L.A. Times, who today has a great article on To and his vast (and still growing, To being only 52 years young) oeuvre.
Some excerpts from the article below (click here for the full article):
Forty-six films into a nearly 30-year career, Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To is one of the few directors whose career shows that kind of versatility. Now 52, To, whose film “Exiled” opens today, began his career in the early ’70s as a messenger at Hong Kong’s TVB television network, working his way up to production assistant, props man and director of serial dramas before making his first movie, “The Enigmatic Case,” in 1978.
To has long been revered by American fans of Hong Kong filmmaking who have seen his movies on DVD or at film festivals. That’s about to change with the American release of To’s 2006 “Exiled,” which opened in New York last week, in Los Angeles today and in other cities around the country. It’s the widest distribution a Johnnie To film has had in the U.S. Serendipitously, it’s also as fine a piece of genre filmmaking as anyone has made in the last 10 years.
If you haven’t seen it, give “Exiled” a try. While not To’s best by any stretch of the imagination, it is nevertheless a pretty damn good introduction to what the man is capable of. He’s done lots better, and without a doubt, will do lots better in the future.