|François||3.25||An uneven mix of Tim Burton's touch with HK style|
It's obvious that behind this common story, there is a will to make the superhero darker than usually. Daniel Lee is not really a yes man, his filmography is filled with interesting approaches of different genres. For this hero movie, there have been a lot of gossips about some argues between Daniel Lee (who wanted to have a much darker approach) and Tsui Hark, known as a very demanding producer. What would have been the movie if Daniel Lee was totally free? Difficult to know. The result is quite hybrid, switching from the action blockbuster to a darker and more artistic approach. At the end it's lacking coherence of course, but the result is still very watchable.
First of all, because of Daniel Lee's directing. This guy loves images, still like a paint, or moving like a movie scene. There are some very nice shots in Black Mask, especially for an action movie. The use of colors and camera angles should be noticed here. There is also a surprising mix of genres, with violent action, silly cantonese humor, some romance and drama. Of course this stylish directing doesn't always match with the action choregraphies, some may find the image too dark and the fight scenes not "readable" enough.
But overall, the action scenes managed by Yuen Woo-Ping are quite nice, even if they clearly don't match Jet and Woo-Ping best work. The special effects are not so bad also, and the acting is quite decent for an actioner. Lau Ching-Wan is as convincing as usual, and Karen Mok is really having a lot of fun.
The movie is probably missing a bigger budget and a clearer choice between blockbuster and stylish movie to be totally convincing. There is still enough to drink and eat here to give it a chance.