“For a better tomorrow,” remarks one character in a rare moment of downtime in John Woo’s Manhunt, drawing a direct connection to Woo’s 1986 break-out hit. Not that he needed to drop so blatant a callback. Released in 2017 across Asian cinemas but debuting on Netflix in the U.S., Manhunt is a self-conscious throwback to the Hong Kong films that made Woo’s reputation among action movie fans around the world––a gleefully overstuffed thriller that races through the greatest-hits-of-Woo trademarks, right down to a hardboiled cop who bonds with his nemesis as he pursues him across the city.
Tabloid story, meditative treatment—director Hirokazu Kore-eda has been in this territory before. His masterpiece, Nobody Knows (2004), was based on a news story of children left to fend for themselves when their mother simply abandoned them in their Tokyo apartment. His latest film is also inspired by true accounts of a parental nightmare: Two couples learn that their 6-year-old sons, born on the same day in the same country hospital, were switched at birth. Brought together by the news, the mortified parents must now work out what to do about a very complicated future.
Like Father, Like Son does not spread its time over these characters equally. The focus is on Ryota (Japanese singer/actor Masaharu Fukuyama), a hard-driving architect whose long workday leaves him little time with his wife Midori (Machiko Ono) or their beloved son Keita.