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Old 08-16-17, 10:12 PM   #1
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Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo




Quote:
Action maestro John Woo returns to the mold of his classic The Killer with this remake of a classic 1970s Japanese thriller, about an innocent man who sets out to clear his name after his is framed for robbery and rape.

Trailer:




This is John Woo's 1st big budget non-period piece Asian action movie in 20+ years.

Trailer looks good.


This will open in wide release in Asia next year, but will be down at the Venice and Toronto film festivals this Fall.
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Old 08-16-17, 10:21 PM   #2
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

Well, I'll be giving it a gander, that's for sure. Maybe it's Woo's long-awaited return to form.
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Old 08-17-17, 10:35 AM   #3
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

It would be nice if he stayed in that form rather than making this some kind of one-off nostalgia bait, but I guess we'll see. This is high on my list of probabilities for TIFF next month, in part because it disappointingly seems to be the only movie with even a partial Hong Kong designation (despite being shot and set mostly in Japan) in the entire festival. I was a little concerned when early teaser posters (both viewable at IMDB) prominently featured flying doves on them . I suppose those were the most easily identifiable signifiers that this was a return to roots, but hopefully they're used sparingly in the film itself.

It would be great if this prompted a Blu-ray release of the original.

Last edited by Brian T; 08-17-17 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 08-17-17, 10:39 AM   #4
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

Feels like we've been waiting for the "John Woo returns to form!" movie for awhile now. Can't say i'm particularly excited.
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Old 08-17-17, 10:58 AM   #5
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

Will there be doves?
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Old 08-17-17, 12:24 PM   #6
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

As noted above:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4537986/...r/rm3088203008
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4537986/...r/rm2872252928

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Old 08-17-17, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

Between the doves in those posters, and the dual wield headfake in the poster in the OP, I am down for this one. Hopefully it is a true return to form.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:15 PM   #8
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

This movie just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Early reviews aren't great:

http://collider.com/manhunt-review-john-woo/#tiff This reviewer gave it a B-

http://www.slashfilm.com/manhunt-review-tiff-2017/ This reviewer gave it a 6 out of 10

http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews...oo-1202549546/ This reviewer thinks it's underwhelming and borderline self parody.

http://cityonfire.com/manhunt-2017-r...t-zhang-hanyu/ This reviewer gave it a 5 out of 10


One of the reviewers thinks this movie is PG-13 material. Not the bloody Gun-Fu that Woo was known for.
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Old 09-12-17, 02:06 AM   #9
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

The actual premiere is this Thursday. Those reviews all came from the two press and screenings held last Thursday and today. A friend who reviews in HK has already been asked by Media Asia not to post his review until they release it there, for fear it might dent the box office. He showed me his notes which included a lot of the weak English dialogue in the movie, which apparently put some of the actors in a bind. Beyond that, there's no surprise to any of those reviews. It was evident in the trailer that Woo is cannibalizing his influential 90's style after the critical and commercial drubbing he took for The Crossing movies. My guess is Manhunt will be a one-off rather than any lasting return to form for the aging Woo, since the Hong Kong industry isn't really about action pictures anymore, and these odd pan-Asian co-productions are starting to wane. Looking forward to seeing it with a paying crowd on Thursday, though, but definitely keeping expectations level.
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Old 09-15-17, 02:45 PM   #10
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Re: Manhunt (2018) -- D: John Woo

Well this is quite a mess. Not horrible, but far from great.

I can only hope this show might help lay to rest the current trend of incorporating pan-Asian casts in order to improve marketability and box-office in their respective markets. It's such a transparent ploy and it rarely does the films or their stories any favours, especially a tale of corporate pharmaceutical intrigue such as this that requires its diverse cast to speak to each other in an constantly alternating menu of languages, including English that many in the cast are so visibly uncomfortable speaking that they grunt their lines in an effort to sound "cool" because they're in a John Woo movie. When Hong Kong (and other Asian) filmmakers cast from different countries in the old days, the final products would often simply be dubbed ENTIRELY into the language of whatever market it was being sold back to. I was never a fan of that, frankly, as it rendered hundreds of decent martial arts films into American "chop-socky" pictures that were subject to more ridicule than praise. But I'm no more a fan of the modern variation of this technique whereby honest attempts to have multi-ethnic characters address each other in whatever language is appropriate from one scene to the next only makes for an aural endurance test for the viewer, especially when dubbing by mismatched voices is factored in.

The dialogue in Manhunt is uniformly overwrought and cliched, in all the languages spoken. Not that that wasn't the case in many of Woo's earlier pictures, but whatever your first language (English, Japanese, Mandarin) you feel like this was written by a gen-X teenager or twentysomething in the 90's who watched too many John Woo movies, stuck the screenplay in a drawer for 20 years, then dusted it off when it appeared the maestro's career was at a low enough point that he'd entertain submissions from fans. Surprised to see the screenplay credited to at least six writers, including a few Hong Kong heavyweights.

In the prelude to the opening action scene in a small Japanese restaurant, leading man Zhang Hanyu (undoubtedly cast over a laundry list of more logical Hong Kong actors with better fluency in English because hey China!) realizes barmaids Ha Ji-Won and Angeles Woo (the director's American-accented daughter) are facing some threatening Japanese gangsters. He asks if they need help, Ha says no, and they make some small talk about "classic movies" as though "classic movies" we're some kind of code for him being able to help them. He even says that he has a "DVD of a classic movie in my car" which he then goes to retrieve and which I'm thinking means he's really going to bring back some kind of weapon to assist them. But no. He goes to his car, the girls wipe out the gangsters in swirling, kimono-flapping, guns-a-blazing 90's Woo fashion, and after they've split Zhang actually returns to restaurant with a DVD in his hand! The sequence itself has little to do with the plot and mainly exists to set up characters who cross paths under darker circumstances later on, when Ha and Woo Jr. are tasked with killing Zhang later in the film, at the behest of his evil pharma company boss (Jun Kunimura, the only actor in the cast who's comfortable speaking English) who doesn't want his ace Mainlander lawyer leaving the fold with trade secrets.

Oh, and it turns out this is a science fiction film, and we all know Woo's success rate with those. He got away with it in Face/Off because his style was still relatively new to broader U.S. audiences, and because Cage and Travolta were so game. Paycheck? The less said the better. In Manhunt, Woo evidently thought that what was missing in the Japanese original that apparently so inspired him as a young man was a major subplot involving . . . gulp . . . pharmaceutically enhanced super soldiers!

Three of the film's action setpieces take place on locations obviously purpose-built to be ripped to shreds by bullets, swords, motorbikes and explosions. It's all well-choreographed -- and the whole film looks great -- but did make me miss the days when Woo could just find an old derelict hospital in the boroughs of Hong Kong and blow the shit out of it. Another big setpiece is the jet-ski chase, which moves fast but includes way too many implausible stunts. In 90's Hong Kong movies we were much more forgiving of this stuff, but not so much in the global cinema scene of 2017.

I think most of those reviews posted above were generous, possibly out of respect for the man's place in the pantheon of action directors who actually changed the game. Their criticisms, though, are all spot on, but there's a sense in some of those columns that the rose-coloured glasses may not have been entirely removed during their viewings.

Definitely bound for video and streaming, where its flaws will undoubtedly be more palatable.

Last edited by Brian T; 09-15-17 at 03:27 PM.
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