At one time, Jet Li was the biggest action film in the world. His films would reach a global audience, culminating with a string of successful English-language films produced by major studios. Li’s output over the last few years has shrunk immensely, but we still have the classics to revisit, especially since boutique labels like Eureka Entertainment are putting in the effort to preserve the body of work he worked so hard to amass. Their latest release is Black Mask (1996) and Eureka! really went the extra mile to put together something special. I received promo discs (without the packaging) to take a look at and this set delivers just about everything a fan could want.

Tsui Chik (Jet Li) is a former test subject in a project meant to create the perfect super-soldier. When the project is terminated, he and other test subjects are forced to escape if they want to survive. Months later, he’s living a quiet life working as a librarian and hanging out with his new friend, Shek Wai-Ho (Ching Wan-Lau), who also happens to be a detective. Soon, violence begins to escalate in the criminal underworld, and bodies are showing up everywhere.

Tsui Chik realizes that these crimes couldn’t be committed by the average human and that his former unit of enhanced humans is the only logical explanation. To conceal his identity, he puts on a black mask and sets out to stop his former friends and their nefarious plan.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen Black Mask. Overall, it’s not one of Li’s best works, but it certainly has some fantastic moments. My main issue with the film has always been pacing. It felt overly long, and some of the humor didn’t always translate properly for Western audiences.

Black Mask (1996) with Jet Li
Eureka Entertainment

Jet Li is as charismatic as always, and he, along with fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (The Matrix), craft some breathtaking action sequences that culminate in a final battle that I would rank somewhere in the top ten fight scenes of his career. The supporting cast is solid, but I absolutely loved seeing Francoise Yip kicking ass in the film. She may be best remembered for her breakout role in Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx (1995). She was never a trained martial artist, but she put in the hard work, and it pays off in Black Mask.

The 2-disc set comes with not one, not two, but three different versions of the film. You get the original Hong Kong cut, the English language cut, and a Taiwanese cut that includes elements from the other two. The English language version is pretty interesting. It runs about ten minutes shorter but includes two English dub tracks. One is from the original international release, while the second is from the version Lionsgate released in the States that includes the Hip Hip soundtrack.

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The set features an audio commentary track, multiple interviews, a booklet, trailers, and more. The 2K restorations look fantastic for the two versions of the film on the first disc. I don’t think the Taiwanese version on the second disc (which is limited) is, but it still hits the mark.

While not my favorite Jet Li film, it still has several iconic and outstanding moments that have never been replicated. This is the most complete set on the market, and action fans certainly won’t want to miss out on it.

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