" The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as the Westerner. Life is plentiful. Life is cheap in the Orient. And as the philosophy of the orient expresses it, life is not important. "
— General William Westmoreland, Hearts and Minds

MRQE Top Critic


Walks you out of an emotional underworld back into the light —Marty Mapes (review...)

Cox lives three times in November

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Black Mask is a Hong Kong feature from 1996. It stars Jet Li as a superman-drug test subject. The subjects all became unstable and had to be killed, but a few of them got away, including Jet Li. Since then he has become a mild-mannered librarian.

As you can guess, this librarian becomes a martial-arts superhero, fighting crime and fighting the government scientists who want to destroy the evidence — namely, him.

The stunts and action in Black Mask stand in stark contrast to those in your typical Jackie Chan movie. Chan’s appeal lies in his Keatonesque grace and skill. You see a Chan movie because you know all the stunts are “real.” In contrast, Jet Li flies on wires to make fight scenes that are much more fanciful and fantastic than Chan’s.

I guess I still prefer Jackie Chan’s style, but I’m glad I saw a Jet Li film. It looks like he’ll be the next big Hong Kong crossover, so it’s good to see where he’s coming from.

Black Mask isn’t the best action movie around, and it looks like it was made with b-grade actors on a low budget, but it’s a fun little movie with a young, explosive, energetic star.