Nobody's Kung Fool
Black Mask
Review by Ross Anthony

Jet Li (of "Lethal Weapon 4" infamy) is the blacksheep of the 701 squad -- an elite military force of medically enhanced super-humans. Seems a few 701's got out of hand so the Hong Kong government decided to nicks the program ... i.e. terminate these tough guys (and gal). At the film's opening, Jet escapes alone (or so he thinks). For reasons not revealed to us, this 701 who can feel no physical or emotional pain becomes a pacifist and takes a job as a library page.

Content in this new life, he ironically befriends Hong Kong's roughest detective. And you know what happens when superhero's have cops for buddies ... they have a hard time staying pacifistic.

Okay, so the story isn't the strongest -- but did you really think it would be? Did you care? It's Jet Li looking like Kato and kicking butt! If that's what you expect, that's what you'll get.

"Black Mask" is a 1996 Hong Kong martial arts flick (rather typical of that genre as well). It's been dubbed over in English to add that cheesy late-night TV dimension to it. The squirty blood won't scare anyone either -- save for the potential dangers of Red Dye #2. But, it's paced well, Jet kicks a lot of bootie, it has romance, betrayal and a sense of humor. I had fun and enjoyed (in particular) the relationship between Jet and the cop; both played their parts respectably well, whether during a mid-air drop kick or a friendly game of chess.

Starring Jet, Li Karen Mok, Lau Ching Wan, Francoise Yip.
Directed by Daniel Lee.
Screenplay by Tsui Hark, Teddy Chen, Joe Ma.
Produced by Tsui Hark and Released by Artisan Entertainment.
Rated R.


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:22 PDT