The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (27)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (18)
| Rotten (9)
There are enough glimpses of the old master peeking through that it's hard not to have a bit of a good time.
It's hard not to smile when John Woo is having this much fun, or to care about the future when the old-fashioned has this much style.
Manhunt generally holds together rather well and is bound to keep Woo's most faithful fans happy.
Even in its clumsiest stretches, Manhunt is fast-paced and fun, which might be the only metric that matters.
It's a dozen movies thrown into a blender, but Woo didn't hit 'puree' long enough.
This film offers something that is never in sufficiently plentiful supply: fun.
Has the familiar manic energy and sincere commitment to the weirdness of [Woo's] original Hong Kong output, but it's not quite the return to the glory days some might have been hoping for.
It's not as jaw-droppingly astonishing as in Woo's heyday, but still glorious to behold at its best.
The Hitchcockian set-up quickly gives way to a series of set-pieces that evoke the spirit of Woo - balletic gun play, motorbike action and of course fluttering doves - without delivering the stirring emotions that are supposed to come with them.
Silly plot, vintage John Woo shoot outs, chases and fights that rank among his very best.
Watching John Woo's latest, Manhunt, is akin to going back to your elementary school playground as an adult.
The chases and gunfights in Manhunt are impressive and brisk, containing just as much panache as you remember from John Woo films of 20 years ago.
Rightly or wrongly, more the latter than the former, I haven't seen as many John Woo movies, or his earlier classics like The Killer, A Better Tomorrow and Hard Boiled. Many of these films have been praised as some of the best actions movies of their time and, really, of ALL-time given their intricacies and choreography. I think it's fair to say that John Woo was the first director of his kind, at least as far as the continent of Asia is concerned, to have made the transition to successful Hollywood director. That transition isn't always easy and Woo is one of the few to have done so, though I feel that, creatively, Ang Lee's success has surpassed Woo's. Akira Kurosawa achieved worldwide success and reverence for his films, but he never transitioned to a Hollywood career. Probably because he liked doing things on his own terms, without anyone else's interference. Having said that, it's obvious that John Woo has been an influential figure as it relates to action. Reservoir Dogs, as an example, though thematically inspired by City on Fire, shares similarities with Woo's earlier works. I suppose that's neither here nor there, but I think people forget how influential this guy truly was in his time. I suppose the fact that he's made four films in this decade (as a point of comparison, he directed four films from 1985-1987) has something to do with that. But I digress. Let's move on, shall we? As far as this movie is concerned, where do I even fucking start with the insanity that is this movie? Look, I mean, I'm just really struggling to find the words here. I don't use the word insanity lightly here, I really do mean it. It should be obvious, right off the bat, that this movie is insanely over-the-top. To the point that it feels like a parody. And I don't mean that this movie lacks self-awareness of how bad it is and it becomes an exercise in how bad the film can get, though I see how some might feel like making that argument. I feel that this is John Woo's attempt to poke fun at some of his own tendencies. Maybe that's just me, but that's the way I saw it, because there's no way that one can watch this movie, as deadly serious as it seems to be, and not feel that major chunks of it were meant to be tongue-in-cheek and silly. That's just me, maybe I'm wrong about that, but, again, when I look at the content of this movie, I can't really take any of it seriously with how everything is structured and how the characters act. Now that I mention that, as far as what I thought about this movie, that's a bit trickier to figure out. I'll be straightforward and honest with you, I had a blast watching this movie. I have a feeling that I might be one of the few people who felt that way. I don't know, but there's something about this movie and its preposterously over-the-top narrative that I found wildly entertaining. Du Qiu, a Chinese pharmaceutical lawyer working for this Japanese pharmaceutical (duh) company is framed for a murder. He goes on the run and, quite literally, everybody and their mother is after this guy. Of course, the movie is never as simple as just Du Qiu escaping capture. No, you see, he uncovers a conspiracy that Tenjin (the company he worked for) is creating this new drug. What this conspiracy is, I'll probably spoil so, please, if you're reading this on RottenTomatoes then just don't read the review. Anyway, things are not so simple, you see. For Du Qiu won a case against this guy, the only ethical scientist that worked for Tenjin, because the company accused him of theft. The property he has is this...chemical formula, I don't know, that apparently affects this drug somehow. This man that was sued by the company lost the case and he proceeded to kill himself (I think, it's actually never made clear) on his wedding day. He dies in his fiancee's hands, because...DRAMA! There's also a Japanese cop, Yamura, who's on Du Qiu's trail and their interactions are the typical macho bullshit you see in action movies, until, eventually, by the film's end, they gain an admiration for one another. The fiancee ends up joining Du Qiu, and by extension Yamura, on his quest to find out the truth behind this new drug. There are also these assassin sisters (or adopted sisters at least) who have been used by Sakai, Tenjin's president, as guinea pigs for this new drug. Sakai has a son, who was the one guilty of murder.. There's this corrupt cop who's hooked on this drug. In short, there's so many fucking variables and plot points that I'd be here forever if I decided to go through them all. Anyway, long story short, Tenjin has created, basically, a super steroid or something that gives the people injected with it super strength and are, basically, unstoppable killing machines. The only problem is that the people at Tenjin can't control those injected with the drug. I'm assuming this is where the only scientist with a conscience at Tenjin and his chemical formula come in. The investors for this drug hope to use it to sell to the military of every side in case a war ever breaks out. In fact, they're really kind of hoping for a war, because they'd make a killing. Heh, get it? A killing? I mean, have you ever seen such a movie with such cartoonish villains. I mean, you probably have. But imagine every 80s action movie villain and multiply that by 11 and that's what you have here. It's so ridiculous, but it's so fucking fun. I know the story doesn't make one bit of sense if you actually scrutinize it with an objective eye, but, in a way, I feel that that's part of the film's charm. The fact that it just doesn't try to be anything than just a silly, goofy and preposterous action movie. It embraces its absurdities and just does with it exactly what you would expect. Given that this is a John Woo movie, the action is expertly choreographed and edited. Even though most of John Woo's movies have been action flicks, it's been a while since he made a film like this. Often you wonder if they still have it. In the case of Woo, while I'm sure his earlier work is much better considering that it had to rely entirely on practical action, this is still very much enjoyable on that side. And, really, if there's a reason this movie gets the rating it does (I'm definitely settling on 3 stars) is because of the action. Actually, that's a lie. It's the action and the ridiculous narrative. Having said that, this is a movie that's obviously gonna be split right down the middle. For my money, I had fun with this movie, because I saw it for what it was, not for what it wasn't or for not matching up to Woo's earlier flicks. Honestly, this movie is probably better enjoyed if you go in absolutely blind to Woo's track record. Because, for my money, and again, this is taking into consideration everything I just mentioned in my review, I had fun with this movie and I would gladly give it a thumbs up. Perhaps I wouldn't give it a glowing recommendation, but I enjoyed myself very much watching this and, ultimately, that's what matters.
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