Manhunt, John Woo’s latest movie, his return to crime thrillers where people shoot at each other in balletic slow motion while doves flutter to add to the beauty of it all, will be coming to Netflix.
They’ve released a trailer.
For those of you too young to remember, John Woo emerged in the 1980s with A Better Tomorrow, which introduced the Heroic Bloodshed genre to Hong Kong Cinema and made Chow Yun Fat a megastar. He followed up with A Better Tomorrow 2 and The Killer, the latter becoming a worldwide hit that brought the slo-mo gunfight (originally created by Sam Peckinpah back in The Wild Bunch) to the consciousness of Western moviegoers and Hollywood. Hardboiled is probably Woo’s action masterpiece, an epic of undercover cops and total mayhem with its final act a single extended chase and shootout in a hospital with Chow Yun Fat cradling a baby while blowing away dozens of bad guys with a shotgun.
Woo’s trademark shooting style was to have multiple cameras shooting the same action from different angles at the same time so he could edit the sequence into an Eisensteinian prismatic collage, turning action and violence into something abstract and poetic. His style has been ripped off by hundreds of directors ever since. John Wick would not exist if Hollywood had never seen John Woo’s movies.
Woo made a go of directing in Hollywood with the compromised Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Hard Target, the John Travolta–Christian Slater nuclear heist thriller Broken Arrow, Tom Cruise‘s Mission: Impossible 2, and the utterly berserk Face/Off where Travolta and Nicolas Cage swapped faces and then shot at each other a lot. He also produced and directed a failed TV pilot for Lost in Space back in the 1990s, which you can actually find on YouTube now.
Woo returned to Asia to direct the two-part historical war epic Red Cliff, which adapted a key battle from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He also produced Reign of Assassins, one of Michelle Yeoh‘s last great wuxia movies, and the two-part historical-romance epic The Crossing.
Manhunt marks Woo’s first crime action thriller in more than 10 years.