At the big party organized to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the pharmaceutical company Tenjin Pharmaceuticals, the famous lawyer Du Qiu, who successfully defended the company in thorny cases, communicates its intentions to end the collaboration.
The next morning the man wakes up in his bed and to his horror discovers that a lifeless young woman lies beside him. The evidence, complete with false witnesses that came up at random, is all against him and Du Qiu after the arrival of the police finds no other solution than that of run away, hoping to prove their innocence.
However, the police are on his trail en masse, also driven by economic interests that have to do with Tenjin Pharmaceuticals, and the expert detective Satoshi Yamura intends to capture him at any cost. At the same time the latter is however also the only one who begins to doubt his actual guilt and the entrance on the scene of a couple of mysterious and implacable assassins dressed in black only further confuses the situation. Where is the truth hiding?
Where everything started
A story of revenge and revenge characterizes John Woo’s return to the world of those action movies who gave him so much luck at the beginning of his career and beyond, consecrating his cinema as an example of style and form, a source of inspiration for dozens of colleagues and pure enjoyment for the general public.
It’s in Manhunt on more than one occasion you can breathe pleasant old school atmospheres, with the iconic white doves – its known distinctive trait – and vehement shootings that in certain passages, in the contrasting link between the two protagonists, can bring to mind dynamics that have made historical masterpieces such as The Killer (1989) or the saga of A better tomorrow.
Especially two long passages, one towards the middle of the vision and the other in the daring final tour de force, I am pure delight for all fans of the genre.
See the two main characters face dozens and dozens of opponents, with a throttle that forces them to stand side by side and shoot as if they were a single entity, or even enjoy one showdown with explosive and amiably chaotic tones, seems to give a glimpse of abundant glimpses of the Woo of the golden times.
Between past and present
The part that works least is probably the script, curated by the director himself. Director who wanted to adapt a Japanese novel from which an autochthonous transposition for the big screen had been taken in the 70s, starring the actor Ken Takatura, of whom Woo has always been a big fan since childhood.
Updating the original to contemporary reality does not work entirely and in particular some plot developments are excessively forced and convoluted. One gets the impression that there is too much meat in the fire, including dark dark ladies ready to kill, pharmaceutical companies that hide horrible secrets, mysteries in the past of some of the support figures and drugs capable of transforming individuals-guinea pigs into supermen.
Unlucky at the box office, with a collection worldwide which has not even reached half of the fifty million dollar budget spent, Manhunt is definitely an imperfect title and from a name like John Woo one always and only expects the best, but if taken with the right feeling it is able to give an evening of pure, disengaged, action-oriented fun.