Take the art direction and set design from The Crow and Batman. Add a male-bonding element reminiscent of The Killer or Hard-Boiled. Stir in a plot line about some top-secret near-invincible bionic-man superwarriors taking over the drug trade in Hong Kong, with only one man who can stop them. Season with a high body count, lots of explosions and running gun battles, and spectacular hand-to-hand fight sequences. Top off with a soupçon of cheesy comic relief and a generous helping of atrocious dubbing. Bake for too long, then remove from oven and allow to cool until thoroughly stale. The result: Black Mask. Sure, it's a preposterous recipe (bet you didn't know that LED readouts will show up on an X-ray), but it's stylishly prepared and presented, with high-octane editing, wild camera angles, and a neo-Goth feel all around. Of course it's all about the remarkable Jet Li, the fight scenes, and the postindustrial art direction. Those who come expecting a high-concept, intelligent thriller will be left with indigestion, but Hong Kong action fans who live and die for insane stunts and head-spinning martial arts scenes will have their appetites sated by this dish. It's very interesting to see the influence that John Woo's hand continues to have on American and HK action thrillers, years after his seminal films with Chow Yun-fat. It'll be even more interesting to see how films like Black Mask hold up in the future. Just don't take it too seriously and this movie works just fine. Oh, and the title? It comes from when Jet Li switches from his mild-mannered librarian persona to butt-kicking superhero, complete with mask and hat à la The Green Hornet's Cato. --Jerry Renshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Jet Li plays Michael, a former member of an elite, genetically enhanced fighting group known as the 701 Squad; after helping his fellow soldiers escape, he wants nothing more to do with killing. Now adopting the name Simon, he is a mild-mannered librarian perfectly content with his new life. Then the killings start.Read more ›
No. what let this film down were the appalling voice-overs. Why? For Gods sake Why? Karen Mok, who is my all time favorite actress speaks flawless, cultured English and yet her voice and those of the other actors are dubbed over by people who sound like 'chipmunks on speed', (for those who remember the cartoon chipmunks, alvin, simon & theodore).
Surely a film budget could stretch to allowing voice-overs by people who speak both languages fluently? God knows there's enough Cantonese who speak the Queens English and could have been trained to dub for cinema to cover those actors, such as Jet Li whose spoken English at the time of this film wasn't all that great!
I've seen it the once, it didn't cost me all that much, but I'll be honest, this was far from being Tsui Hark's best work and as much as I love Karen Mok, I won't watch this film again because it just isn't worthy of her. This film was simply bad and my apologies to Jet Li fans, (who I admire as an action star), but his stunt efforts simply don't carry this dud over the line.
The dubbing is truly terrible, I watch a lot of dubbed films, mainly italian horror, but this really stands out. It's different watching asian actors with dubbed voices, their language is too different to ours for the lip movements to even come close to what they are saying, add to that that the voices used don't suit the actors at all, it makes it hard to take seriously. Surprisingly some of the humour still works quite well, it's cheesy, but that's what makes it funny.
If I could get hold of a subtitled version I would probably buy it, but in it's current stste it's just a bit too dodgy. It's still something you have to see though.
Most recent customer reviews
great to have it in BD, but some segment are not reflective BD quality. thanks to the seller for fast shippingPublished 8 months ago by Rick
It didn't take me long to forget this film. Once again it stars Jet in a strange role.Published on June 5 2004 by Taddese Zicke
The plot is one that's showing signs of wear: There was a secret government experiment to create the super-soldier. Read morePublished on May 31 2004 by wiredweird
This is such a great jet li movie. And i would recommand this movie to martial art fans.Published on May 23 2004 by kanye south
Typical Hong Kong shoot-em-up. Great martial arts thanks to Jet Li & Wo Ping. Americanized with poor dubbing and a lame soundtrack. Read morePublished on May 6 2004 by J
One of the best movies in the whole wide world.
Not many extra features or anything, but the quality and sound is great.
Yes this movie is better than the sequel which was black mask 2 city of masks. And jet li does a decent job in the movie.Published on March 13 2004 by X
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