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Black Mask (1999)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: May 16, 1999
Director: Daniel Lee
Writer: Teddy Chan, Ann Hui, Joe Ma, Tsui Hark
Producers: Tsui Hark
Actors:
Jet Li
Lau Ching-Wan
Plot:
After the government's project 701 to transform certain people into super-human fighting machines goes awry, one of the 701's has to protect the rest of the city from the remaining super-warriors, who are all programmed to fight like nobody's business, withstand bullets, fire and much, much pain.
Critique:
How do you rate a movie that has some of the worst dialogue that you've heard in a film in years, a plot that can only be described as a static framework in which to insert many action sequences, and some of the best fighting scenes this side of the crazy kung-fu battles from THE MATRIX (8/10)? (No coincidence either, since Yuen Woo-Ping, is the same man who choreographed the fighting stunts from both films.) Well, I guess I would really recommend this movie to all those people who love to see eye-popping fight sequences, since these are some of the coolest that I've seen in a while. Most of them are set in fast-motion and incorporate all the creative wizardry of a Jackie Chan fight, alongside the slickness of newcomer Jet Li, and a frenetic shooting style via the eye of Daniel Lee. Now, if you like a lot of action, but also prefer a good story with interesting characters, then you'll be out of luck with this piece of film.

Also, prepare yourself to appreciate the dubbed voices of obvious phonies, and the contrived hip-hop/rap soundtrack, which is somehow supposed to make us feel more comfortable within this Hong-Kong film? I would've preferred a less intrusive soundtrack myself. I think the wonderfully choreographed battle sequences alone would entice folks to keep their goggles glued to the screen. I know mine were whenever an action-packed scene popped up, while everything else of mine quickly slinkied away whenever the cheesy plot, melodramatic touches and awful dialogue returned to the proceedings. Check it out if ONLY for the fight scenes, because they are truly a sight to behold, but skip it altogether if cool combat scenarios within a crappy plot and over-the-top enemies don't warm your salsa.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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