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 scoop 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.
Jet Li stars as as quiet librarian who has a double life as a martial arts action hero.
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