The 74th Venice International Film Festival (August 30 – September 9) has just announced the world premiere of John Woo’s action thriller Manhunt as part of its Out of Competition roster. The film is hotly anticipated as it marks the return of the Hong Kong director to the police thriller genre 25 years after his classic Hard Boiled, starring Chow Yun-fat, Tony Leung and Anthony Wong.
Set in Japan, Manhunt is the story of a Chinese man wrongly convicted for rape and multiple murders. He becomes the target of a manhunt by the local Japanese police, while he sets out himself to find the real killers.
The film has Chinese star Zhang Hanyu (The Great Wall, Operation Mekong) and Japanese actor-musician Masaharu Fukuyama (Suspect X, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends) in the lead roles. The predominantly Japanese supporting cast includes Yasuaki Kurata, Jun Kunimura, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Nanami Sakuraba, Naoto Takenaka and Tao Okamoto. Non-Japanese cast members include Korean actress Ha Ji-won and Chinese actresses Stephy Qi Wei and Angeles Woo.
Manhunt is an adaptation of the Japanese novel Kimi yo Fundo no Kawa o Watare, which was made into a classic 1976 film of the same name starring the great Japanese actor Ken Takakura. The film was also the first foreign film to be shown in post-Cultural Revolution China.
Woo decided to make this film as a tribute to Takakura after he passed away in 2014. After a series of hits and misses in Hollywood (Face/Off, Mission: Impossible 2) and epic big budget films back in China (Red Cliff: Parts I & II, The Crossing: Parts I & II), Woo has stated his desire to get back to his old style of working with smaller crews on relatively smaller budgets to make a “real” movie.
The film is produced by Gordon Chan, Chan Hing-kai and the Hong Kong company Media Asia. Wider theatrical release is scheduled for October 5, 2017, in Singapore (through Clover Films) and February 16, 2018, in China. A trailer for the film or the US and UK release dates are yet to come out, but we will keep you posted, of course!