Director John Woo has been absent from Cinema for a while after making Red Cliff and The Crossing when he announced a return to the Heroic Bloodshed genre with Manhunt, a remake of a classic Japanese gangster film of the same name. If you’re expecting a return to form then forget it as the movie is a disappointment on so many levels.
Du Qiu (Zhang Hanyu) is a lawyer for a shady pharmaceutical company who wakes up one morning and finds a dead woman in his bed. He’s clearly being framed, but that knowledge won’t keep the cops from chasing after him. One of those cops is Yamura (Masaharu Fukuyama), a no-nonsense, super-cool investigator who starts to believe that Du Qiu may indeed be innocent, not that that’ll stop him from doing his job but things don’t go as planned and the two find themselves both fighting for justice and staying alive.
The film is at times painful to watch, Fukuyama and Zhang have to trade lame buddy-movie quips in stilted English, You can’t blame the actors totally, they are good performers. but trying to emote in a language they are not familiar with does not help one bit. You also get a lot of sub-par CGI, Explosions, bullet fire and even doves at one point.
Things pick up a bit in the latter part of the movie, Yasuaki Kurata has a small role, but is great as always and gets to show some nifty and brutal fighting moves. Also, you do get to see some of the classic John Woo in the shootout at the farmhouse, but overall this is a very messy and sloppy action film, at times its like watching a bad John Woo imitation movie, if it is meant as self-parody then it fails miserably.
My advice is to go and watch The Killer or Hard Boiled instead and see what John Woo can really do.
The film has yet to get a UK or USA release date but the film is available on DVD and Blu ray from Hong Kong. Also currently on Netflix.
5 out of 10