Japanese live-action films based on manga take various forms, from the silly to the serious, though few are anything like Hollywood comic-book movies, whose superheroes, with their CG-assisted superpowers, are pure wish fulfillment. It’s not that the Japanese films are always less fantastic, but their heroes are usually less formidable. It’s hard, for example, to think of any who can fly minus a mechanical assist.

Hitoshi Iwamoto’s new film “MW” (pronounced “mew”), which is adapted from a 1970s manga of the same title by Osamu Tezuka, takes more inspiration from Hollywood thrillers than superhero epics. But the thrillers it is recycling are the 1990s variety in which a canny madman threatens to loose deadly havoc on scores of innocent victims.

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