The good stuff
If you're looking for a quality martial arts epic, look no further because this film has everything to quench your thirst.
John Woo's gun-fu/heroic bloodshed masterpiece. The balance between the melodrama and action is perfect here (read very little of the former, tons of the latter), the acting talent is tremendous, the action scenes are simply baffling. The second hour is an almost endless barrage of superbly shot and choreographed gun fights, by far one of the best pieces of film in Woo's rich and varied oeuvre. An epic film, even 30 years later.
Manhunt feels like the remnant of a great film that died on the editing table. It's so incredibly hasty that it's like watching a 105 minute highlight reel. Some wooly English dialogue doesn't help either, luckily Woo still shoots a mean action scene and there's no time to get bored.
Worthy but flawed
John Woo doing Chinese opera sounds intriguing, but the result is mostly just grating and tiresome. The film looks nice enough and the romantic plot is sufficient, but the music is ever-present and did get on my nerves after a while. Unless you're a big fan of Chinese opera, or a Woo completist, you might think twice about watching this one.
John Woo took a rather hesitant start to his career, but that is not uncommon for a Hong Kong director. The Dragon Tamers is a basic martial arts film that features one of two decent fight scenes, but fails on pretty much every other level. Woo's signature is also completely absent, but that shouldn't come as a surprise.
The plot is nothing special. A righteous martial art students vows to stop a criminal organization from taking over the martial schools in Korea, but before he can make a real difference he needs to be humbled first. If you've seen a couple of these oldskool martial arts flick, you've probably seen this plot a thousand times before.
The actors are mediocre and the fight choreographies are tame, especially when you compare them to Shaw Bros films from that time. The drama is very poor and the first half doesn't nearly have enough fight scenes to overcome that. Luckily the ending is quite action-packed, but it's not good enough to save this film.