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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film so good it could only have been made in Hong Kong
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...
Published on 27 Jun 2004 by Daniel Jolley

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun, or a lot of rubbish?
As a librarian/kung fu student this film gave me a bit of a kick, if only because that's what Jet Li is in the film. His character also used to be a government assassin who has had his nerves severed, so that he feels no pain. I too am a gov...
The plot is deeply stupid and jumps all over the place, and the direction won't win any oscars. But so what? This film is a...
Published on 19 Jan 2005 by rp


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film so good it could only have been made in Hong Kong, 27 Jun 2004
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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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. Someone is offing all of the drug lords in Hong Kong, which doesn't necessarily sound like a bad thing, even to Simon's buddy Inspector "Rock" Sheck (Ching Wan Lau). Still, the detective has to put an end to the carnage and becomes the lead man on the case. Simon realizes that his old 701 Squad is carrying out the attacks, and he takes action in order to save his friend Rock. No one else can stop these bad guys, so Simon dons a black mask to hide his identity, and starts laying the smacketh down from one side of the island to the other.
The action never stops, and Tsui Hark does more with ten million dollars than most filmmakers could do with ten times that amount. I'm talking carnage, people - huge explosions, gunfire by the truckload, and incredibly wicked fighting - oftentimes in the most precarious of places. At least half of the police force must get killed as this movie progresses, and the bad guys fare even worse; in one scene, the stiffs are stacked up one on top of the other. Hark is a genius when it comes to presenting incredible action in the most unusual of ways and from the most unconventional of angles, and Jet Li is at his very best, exhibiting the smoothness and rapid-fire movements of the Wushu style he mastered long ago. The supporting characters also bring a lot to the movie, from the delightful love interest Tracy Lee (Karen Mok) to genetically engineered superbabe Cailyn (Francoise Yip) to hard-nosed cop and all-around tough guy "Rock" to the super-evil Commander Hung (Kong Lung) (who, for reasons I can't explain, dresses like Ozzy Osbourne). With a greater than average gore quotient, Black Mask has everything I want in a martial arts film.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun, or a lot of rubbish?, 19 Jan 2005
This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
As a librarian/kung fu student this film gave me a bit of a kick, if only because that's what Jet Li is in the film. His character also used to be a government assassin who has had his nerves severed, so that he feels no pain. I too am a gov...
The plot is deeply stupid and jumps all over the place, and the direction won't win any oscars. But so what? This film is a lot of camped-up fun. With Jet playing the mask wearing vigilante hero.
Ofcourse, in true comic book fashion no one can possibly know that The Black Mask is him. Not with that tiny mask (it looks like its been made out of the corrugated plastic you get inside boxes of Milktray) over his eyes! What a disguise.
Actually I found this film to be a nice antidote to the humourless (though superb) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers trend.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best modern day Jet Li film!!!!!!, 20 Jan 2002
This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
The black mask is one of Jet Li's modern day films. It is not as quick and tricky as the once upon a time in china films but is still a great film with great martial arts fights and can give a different view of jet Li as his other films are not like this one at all in terms of the story line.
The film is set in Hong Kong where Jet's character has broken out of a gang who have had all thier nerves destroyed to make them ultimate fighters. Jet then moves to Hong Kong to live a normal life until the gang start commiting crimes involving drugs. Jet has to stop them but keep his identity safe as well and becomes a modern day kato (Bruce Lee, Green hornet) called the black mask to stop the gang commiting more evil crimes.
This film is worth buying, and even more so if you are a Jet Li fan, the stunts in the film are fantastic.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Hong Kong style action....., 24 Jan 2005
By 
This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
Having just read the previous two reviews by dissapointed customers - I felt I had to redress the balance.
Anyone framiliar with, and indeed a fan of, Hong Kong action flics is unlikely to be dissapointed by this offering. It is supposed to be Comic Book style, which together with the cultural oddities will make the plot somewhat surreal, but no more so than many many films of this genre. Indeed, the dubbing has been done better than most, with very few comical mis-translations.
Action scenes are as over the top and stylish as you'd normally expect from a good Hong Kong flic, and some of the fight scenes are supurbly choerographed in a way that American films never manage.
For my money this kind of throw away action is far more prefferable to the hollywood junk we're normally subjected too, and comes highly recommended to fans of the genre. I certainly prefer Jet Li's Hong Kong films to the hollywood equivilents, and the fight scenes in this film are better than any I've seen in a hollywood made movie (The Matrix? Don't make me laugh...)
Well worth considering! :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jet Li just like Bruce Lee, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
Jet Li is just like Bruce Lee how dark his clothing is in this movie if you don no what I am talking about the Green Hornet if you ever watched that show you no what I am taking about Bruce Lee was the tall dark hat guy this must be the origin story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars fast delivery, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
I remembered this film from my youth hasn't aged well some things are better forgotten and this film was that
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4.0 out of 5 stars BLACK MASK, 21 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
i liked this film mainly because if the main actor Jet Li in the Black Mask as it is a martial arts film
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5.0 out of 5 stars Over the top comic book parody, 10 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
Undemanding, fast edited actioneer that edges towards to B plus movie status. Hey, it pays homage to Meester JC Van Damme I reckon.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Like a kids cartoon but watchable, 5 Feb 2011
By 
K. Grunwald - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Mask [DVD] (DVD)
This is not like Jet Li's more recent movies. A tired old story about people who have had their nerves removed so as to feel no pain (perhaps a good idea for those watching this movie) and who get trained in martial arts so they are almost superhuman. The production levels are very poor as is the dubbing. In fact it is a downright silly movie to the point of seeming more of a cartoon than a movie. For those who are not especially a fan of Jet Li than give this one a miss though you might find it just about watchable should you find yourself stuck with it.If you have only just taken an interest in Jet Li because you have seen some of excellent and more recent movies then it is likely this will disappoint....lots.
If you are a serious Jet Li fan then you will probably quite enjoy it.
Poor but just about watchable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best BD edition of the film, 18 April 2012
By 
LoBo (BodÝ, Norway) - See all my reviews
I like this Jet Li film. Enjoyable and violent action scenes. I like the fight scenes. Some of the special effects are dated, but this is how it is.

Picture quality: 4/5

This looks much better than my UK DVD which was heavily cropped and lousy picture quality. There also seems to have no DNR applied to the film. It looks raw and has the grain. Too bad it didn`t have AVC or VC1 codec. There is a HK BD, but i think the American looks better, in terms of colour and details.

The HK BD have too much DNR that takes away the details + have crushed blacks and strange oversaturated colours. The only good thing about the HK BD is that it has the original uncensored version with it`s original language.

Audio quality: 4/5

I think quality of the English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is pretty good. Too bad about the scratching Rap music, i like Rap music, but not in this type of film. I think the original music was suited better. I remember the explosions, music and guns had good bass.

Film: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
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Black Mask [DVD]
Black Mask [DVD] by Daniel Lee (DVD - 2002)
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