John Woo goes back to his roots with intrepid cops, balletic shoot-outs, flying glass in this thoroughly enjoyable full-tilt action romp.


Dir John Woo
Prod Gordon Chan, Chan Hing Kai
Scr Nip Wan Fung , Gordon Chan, James Yuen, Itaru Era, Ku Zoi Lam, Maria Wong, Sophia Yeh
With Zhang Hanyu, Masaharu Fukuyama, Qi Wei, Ha Jiwon
Hong Kong-China
Sales Media Asia Film Distribution (HK) Limited

Intrepid cops, flying glass, mid-air shootouts in balletic slo-mo… Manhunt is a John Woo movie like he used to make 'em, before his US period that included Face/Off and Mission Impossible 2, and his historical diptychs Red Cliff and The Crossing. Woo's first Asian police thriller since 1992's Hard Boiled finds the Hong Kong maestro moving operations to Japan, where lawyer Du Qiu (Zhang Hanyu) finds himself a murder suspect on the run from tenacious cop Yamura (Masaharu Fukuyama). Also joining the chase are Mayumi (Qi Wei), who blames Du Qiu for a tragedy in her life, and Dawn and Rain, a lethal hitwoman duo. Knowingly and wittily pastiching his own innovative 80s-90s period, Woo lets his hair down with a thoroughly enjoyable full-tilt action romp, strong on humour and laced with terse snippets of English-language tough-guy talk ("There's only one end for a fugitive - a dead end"). The superbly choreographed action takes in a motorbike raid on a country mansion, a speedboat chase through Osaka and a climactic showdown in a pharmaceutical lab. Manhunt shows that Woo has lost neither his mojo nor his sense of poetry - and he throws in a few of his signature white doves for good measure.

Jonathan Romney

Tickets £16 on sale to BFI Champs Tue 19 Sep 10:00, BFI Members Tue 19 Sep 11:00 and to the public from Wed 20 Sep 10:00.