Jet Li plays Tsui Chik, a former test subject of a project to create super-soldiers, impervious to pain and trained to stop at nothing to complete their missions. But he is forced to escape with his comrades after the project was suddenly cancelled and most of his squad killed.
Now he is trying to have a quiet life as a librarian with a Hong Kong cop as his best friend. However, a string of vicious gangland murders begin that have all the markings of his former compatriots and realising that the police are helpless to fight these soldiers, Tsui Chik decides to take them on donning a mask to protect his identity and he soon becomes known only as The Black Mask.
The plot is simple to follow and the action scenes plentiful. Jet gets to do a lot of fighting in this movie and although there is a lot of wirework it blends in mostly with the story. Lau Chin Wan is always great to watch and here is given the thankless role of the best friend of the hero but it doesn’t take him that long to figure out who he really is. As mentioned, the fights and gunplay action are well choreographed and very bloody in places.
The film tries to be a kind of violent comic book adaptation but does not really succeed. The cast is good, Francoise Yip is cold and sexy as Jet’s old assassin partner and Anthony Wong turns up as a drug lord who comes to a nasty end. If producer Tsui Hark and Director Daniel Lee had spent as much time on the story as they did on the action, Black Mask would have been a much better movie.
Note that this Hong Kong Blu ray release is the full uncut version, the disc released in the USA is both cut and dubbed into English. The picture quality on this release is ok, a bit flat and it has not been remastered in any way, but it is True HD, unlike some other HK Blu ray releases. Audio is served by Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 or Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. Both are good if not special with bass being very prominent in the action scenes. Subtitles are English or Chinese, no grammatical errors were noticed. Extras are disappointing, you get a 20-minute ok making of which has interviews with some of the cast and crew.
Overall a good release if your a fan of the film, the bonus being it is the full uncut version in the original language.
REGION A LOCKED
FILM: 6 PICTURE: 6 AUDIO: 6 EXTRAS: 3