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Black Mask (Widescreen)

Jet Li , Ching Wan Lau , Daniel Lee    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
Sale: CDN$ 23.60
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Product Description

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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

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Black Mask

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Sometimes I wonder why American studios even try to make action-packed martial arts thrillers; they just cannot compete with the great films churned out by Hong Kong studios. Black Mask is an underappreciated, high octane, exhilarating motion picture. How could it not be, as it combines the untouchable martial arts skills of Jet Li, the directorial genius the great Tsui Hark, the fight choreography of the renowned Yuen Woo Ping, the comparatively high Hong Kong budget of ten million dollars, and virtually nonstop action? Granted, the film was given an audio makeover on its way to America, but the dubbing is very well done and the hip-hop soundtrack keeps your blood pumping even when no one is fighting. This is not to say I would have preferred to see the film in its original format, with subtitles, but Black Mask delivers more bang for the buck than anything coming out of American studios. Originally released in 1996 as Hak Hap, this movie made the jump to America three years later, just after Jet Li had made his American debut in Lethal Weapon IV. The film does have a comic-book superhero feel to it, thanks largely to the Kato-like black mask the hero wears, but the storyline is actually quite impressive and easy to follow (although the master plan of the baddies seems a little out-there) . Some reviewers don't seem to care for Black Mask, but I thought it was terrific.
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.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Black Mask Dec 23 2002
Format:DVD
I bought this film only today & despite the quality cast & talented director, this film was a real disappointment. The plot is minimal as was to be expected and the stunt action was well on track with all Jet Li movies. But the voices.............
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.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Black Mask April 27 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I find it amusing that some people thought this movie was violent, and reccomending it for age groups, etc. If these people had seen half the films that are out there, as well as the world that is out there, they'd think twice about blindfolding their children to the reality of the world before exposing them to it when it is too late. As for the movie, it really is weak and not too good to follow. The movies that Jet Li are starring in with American(ized) film crews are pretty much inane fighting and no storylines. Some of Jet Li's best work can be seen in the Cantonese/Mandarin versions of Once Upon a Time in China as well as a few of his prior work with the HK Film Industry. The background music on the track is pretty much horrible, as it tends to drown out some of the speech (I was viewing with a 5.1 system) and it throws the mood of the movie off pace. I've seen a great deal of Li Lian Jie (Lee Lin Kit)'s movies, and this is one of the worst I've seen so far. I'd reccomend watching any of the Wong Fey Hong movies he stars in, they're some of the best out there. I wonder if this movie reminded anyone else of the old TV series "Zorro".
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is violent Jan. 13 2002
Format:DVD
People complain about the violence in American cinema, but the violence in asian cinema blows it away. Take this movie for instance, hands are cut off, people are cut into with flying discs(like in GHOST'S OF MARS), blood sprays everywhere from gun shot wounds, faces are burnt with acid/toxic waste(something anyway) and there is a huge explosion about every five minutes especially in the first half. It's completely brilliant, well almost anyway.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Easily forgotten
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Competent action/punch-up
The plot is one that's showing signs of wear: There was a secret government experiment to create the super-soldier. Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by wiredweird
5.0 out of 5 stars jet li shines
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Martial Arts Excellence & Not much else
Typical Hong Kong shoot-em-up. Great martial arts thanks to Jet Li & Wo Ping. Americanized with poor dubbing and a lame soundtrack. Read more
Published on May 6 2004 by J
5.0 out of 5 stars Jet Li. Awesomeness. End Review.
One of the best movies in the whole wide world.
Not many extra features or anything, but the quality and sound is great.
Published on April 9 2004 by Autumn May
5.0 out of 5 stars well its better than the sequel
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
5.0 out of 5 stars must see!!!
this is the one of the best muvis i ever wached. this is a must see!!
Published on Nov. 30 2003 by Aki Kunishige
4.0 out of 5 stars An Sharp at times Exciting Action-Thriller.
Selected, Biologically Engineered Battle Squad takes over the Hong Kong Drug Trade. When the Gouverment Targets them for Termination, a Once Squad Component (Jet Li) living quietly... Read more
Published on April 15 2002 by Christian Pelchat
5.0 out of 5 stars non stop action, don't hold out on this one
this movie isn't jet li's best, but its pretty close, u can't pay too much attention to the plot. the fight scenes are some of his best, great if you like high action martial arts... Read more
Published on March 30 2002 by Theresa R Lange
3.0 out of 5 stars This is gonna be a 2-faced review
I enjoyed this movie. I loved the soundtrack, so much in fact, that I went nd bought it. And the DVD is on my "to get" list. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2002 by Enigma20XX
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