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Black Mask

Director:Daniel Lee
Writers:Tsui Hark, Teddy Chen, and Joe Ma
Artisan Entertainment; R; 90 minutes
Cast:Jet Li, Karen Mok, Lau Ching Wan

When he's not reshelving books or fending off the advances of fellow librarian Tracy (Karen Mok), Jet Li's character pummels his way through exquisitely choreographed fights with the nastiest denizens of Hong Kong's underworld. Tsui (Jet Li) was part of the aborted top-secret government Project 701, which left him fearless, biomechanically enhanced, and unable to feel pain. Fellow Project members have turned renegade, and by night sexy Tsui asserts some serious vigilante justice, dashing into increasingly preposterous scenarios while wearing a black mask to conceal his true identity. Li's effortless cool and sly humor shine amidst a splendid barrage of blood and bullets choreographed by The Matrix's Yuen Wo-Ping.

When it comes down to the quick, the spectacular passions of high opera function equivalently as the pathos and melodrama of daytime soaps, and good Hong Kong action cinema like Black Mask recognizes this, strutting a gangster between beautiful filmmaking and explosive kitsch. Fast, violent, and full of heart-stopping thrills, this is action at its most entertaining.

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