I know it’s been awhile since I did my ULWR post, so I thought I’d share a favorite! This time, I thought I’d venture off the beaten path and try one most people wouldn’t know. I was recently in the mood for some beat-em-up martial arts movies and put on a few favorites while I write and clean – Ip Man, Fearless, Hero, Operation Condor, Drunken Master (all fantastic, if you’re bored on Netflix tonight) and I remembered one I haven’t seen in ages….BLACK MASK!
This was a pretty cool movie when I was a kid, just when Jet Li was becoming popular in America. What super cheesy 90’s Hong Kong action, I love it! It’s been years since I had seen it, so I thought I’d fire it up. Sadly, it is not on Netflix. As I watched this again, I realized that the hero of the story is in fact A LIBRARIAN. How did I miss that? Oh right, not seeing it for 10 years will do that.
So let me give you the overview! Black Mask follows a librarian named Simon, who is secretly a former test subject for a highly secretive super-soldier project dubbed “701.” The 701 squad was used for top-secret missions, but was aborted after one of the soldiers goes crazy and kills several innocent people. Too dangerous to go free, the government tries to kill the 701 squad (bad idea, I know). Simon helps his fellow soldiers escape to safety before parting ways and starting a new life.
Simon explains, “I live in Hong Kong with a new name and a job in a library, something as far removed from my violent past as I could find.” He says he enjoys library work because his boss leaves him alone. “I like it here. It’s quiet. Nobody ever bothers a librarian.” (Clearly, this library has no children’s section.) It’s not just a cover – Simon benefits from all those books, learning how to disarm bombs with a pager and all sorts of awesome things; to quote Simon, “You’d be surprised what you learn on this job.”
It’s a quiet life for Simon…until a violent crime spree rips through Hong Kong! The police are outmatched, and it isn’t long before Simon pieces together that the 701 squad has teamed back up and are living in Hong Kong. He sets out to get rid of them, donning a mask and hat using the superhero alias “The Black Mask”. Having lost the ability to feel pain due to the surgery performed on the super-soldiers by the military, Black Mask is almost invulnerable.
Still not sold on this movie? Watch the ridiculous 90s trailer below.
Watch it and let me know what you think!
Justin Brasher, Brash (super soldier) Librarian