]e (1999)
The Masked Prosecutor

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/12/2010

Since the early 1990's, Herman Yau has been one of Hong Kong's most interesting directors, able to work in many different genres from straight drama to over-the-top exploitation, with the results usually being something well worth watching. Unfortunately, despite having a solid cast and an interesting premise, his 1999 release The Masked Prosecutor never seems to be able to find its' groove, and the end results feel more than a bit washed-out.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 02/20/2007
Summary: Disappointing

As a fan of Jordan Chan & Louis Koo's earlier work, I had high hopes for this but considering the title i should've known.As a vigilante film this falls short...WAY short. The story is just too silly to be taken seriously. Louis Koo never makes you understand why he's doing what he does. If you can't relate to a character you wont feel anything for them.

As for Jordan Chan, I'm not sure if he was trying to be stoic or sullen or depressed or what. Either way he fails at it badly. Blacky Ko is his usually charismatic self and is the only thing with a "life" in this film.

I'm relating this film to when an actor takes on a B movie role as a favor to either the producer or director. I can't belive either Chan or Koo read this script and thought this was a good idea. Not recommended.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/23/2002
Summary: Poor

The plot is poor, and the story is not much better. Blacky Ko's performance is the only one worth noting. Louis Koo is very poor in this, and Jordan Chan is not much better either.

A waste of a film.

Rating: 2/5

Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 03/25/2002

The masked prosecutor is a former cop turned vigilante. Nice performances, but mundane plot and minimal action leave you wanting more.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

What a weird movie this is! I still haven't quite figured out what this was about. Supposedly, it's a police actioner about Jordan Chan chasing a masked criminal (Louis Koo) who's taken it upon himself to hunt down and punish other criminals who were set free by the courts. He does so by kidnapping his victims, tying them down and then caning then - and the latter is shown in an almost fetishistic manner... Anyway, out of nowhere Jordan sort of figures out wo the masked guy is, and we start learning about his back story which is meant to explain why he became like this (it doesn't). Throw in a few action scenes, lots of weird fetishistic stuff like tatoos, all set to some Eastern music, becuase that makes it sound mysterious, and Grace Ip as the love interest. Not that she can act, but since she doesn't have anything to do in the movie, it doesn't really show. Jordan looks ultra-sullen throughout, as if he kind of knew he had stumbled into a bit of a mess. Either that or he was suffering from a hangover. Then we have a few glaring continuity errors (especially concerning Lois Koo's hair, or lack thereof), and I'll be darned, 80 minutes have gone by, so let's wrap this one up by having another car chase and a final showdown.
Not recommended.

Reviewed by: David Harris
Date: 04/18/2001

This is very much the kind of film that I enjoy as a rule and enjoy it I did but while it was good it could have been great. The titular character is played by one of the new leading lights of the Hong Kong entertainment industry the perma-tanned Louis Koo and he is joined in the film by the ever reliable talent that is Jordan Chan who is perhaps best known for the role of Chicken in the "Young And Dangerous" films and everyone's favourite uncle Blackie Ko (you may remember him from Jet Lee's "My Father Is A Hero").

The director of this slice of celluloid is the sleazemaster himself Herman Yau - for those that don't know or for those that do but wish that they didn't he was responsible for the Category III classics that are "The Untold Story" and "Ebola Syndrome" which both starred Anthony Wong. The two of them are kind of like Martin Scorcese and Robert De Niro but with a lot more on the grossness, blood and meat cleaver fronts and for me it's about time they made another shocker to rival those two formidable movies.

What prevents this movie being great isn't really the actors or even the script which is the more common problem. The fly in this ointment is the action or rather the level of the action - what there is is quality stuff but it is neither long enough or intense enough and to be perfectly honest I would expect a Herman Yau film to deliver on that front in a very big way. I got the distinct impression when watching this film that he was being hemmed in and I really felt that he was itching to let rip in his customary fashion - it may well have been that he was contractually obliged to deliver a IIb rated film. The storyline suits his style down to the ground and I can see in my mind what he could have done with it.

The Masked Prosecutor (Louis Koo) is a cop with vengeance on his mind. He was jailed for accidentally shooting his partner and then shooting a drug dealer who had given himself up in order to hide that mistake thereby making his second. He operates on a strange mixture of emotions - it's partly guilt at shooting his partner who is his fiancee's younger brother and partly a sense of injustice that he was jailed while other criminals go free on technicalities.

There are a number of touches in the film that really work but by the same token a number of things that aren't fully utilised as storyline elements - the rapid mask changing is perhaps the most interesting but is also the least used. This is an entertaining film that I would recommend although not wholeheartedly - the feeling that I was left with at the end was one of slight disappointment that it hadn't reached the heights (or depths depending on your point of view) that it should have.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 09/04/2000
Summary: Not good..........

With a great introduction to this movie, you would expect this supernatural theme to continue throughout the movie!! BUT it's doesn't!!

The are mAny gaps in the movie. How does the MASK change his masks is one. I have seen this trick in "King of Masks." And this MASK guy only CANES his bad guy victims, he's like a school principal!!

If your looking for action, don't look here!! There isn't much of it!!

A good cast with a thin plot. What a shame. This could of been lots better.


Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 02/26/2000
Summary: You could do worse.

I can't call this a great movie. The thin storyline feels a bit padded out; Grace Yip's crush on Jordan, for instance, goes pretty much nowhere. It's a bit sloppy technically; at one point, we see Louis about to fire a revolver, but when the shot switches to show only his face and upper body, we see a shell eject and hear it fall to the floor. Character development is scattershot at best. BUT... Many more lavish and artistic productions have failed to hold my attention as adequately as The Masked Prosecutor. It's reasonably fast-paced, never dragging much. The action is brief but well-done for the budget. Overall, nothing to go out of your way to see, but not a disagreeable way to kill 90 minutes. One side note: the public's opinion of Indians seems to be improving in Hong Kong. Instead of being the butt of jokes, they are now treated well by the hero to show he's a nice guy. That's a step up... I guess.

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 02/24/2000
Summary: Listless and Lifeless

Herman Yau's "The Masked Prosecutor," could have been a good movie, but the listless direction and lifeless script place it as a below average Hong Kong action film. Jordan Chan plays a cop in search of the Masked Prosecutor (Louis Koo), a vigilante of sorts, who resorts to caning his victims, Singapore style. The victims are actually criminals that escaped the criminal justice system, leaving Koo to carry out his form of sentencing the courts could not.

There wasn't enough development of the motives behind Koo's Masked Prosecutor. You don't get to see him much when he's with his victims--only when he canes a couple. The subplot of Koo, once a cop, who accidently kills his partner and then the suspect to cover up his error, didn't help to define the character. There are too many little pieces of the puzzle without a clear idea of where the movie wanted to go. You also get the typical good cop-bad cop set up with Chan and Blackie Ko, but here too, the steam builds up only to fizzle out. The most heart-felt scene is between Ko and Koo, where Ko lets Koo know that he loves him like a son and will do whatever it takes to protect him. Unfortunately, this comes much too late and rings false.

The action is well handled and is the only standout portion of the movie, but there isn't enough to save the film. Movies like "The Masked Prosecutor" prevent Jordan Chan from moving up the ladder to better films.

Reviewed by: cathy in nyc
Date: 02/05/2000

This was an interesting movie. While the supernatural/spiritual elements were ultimately unsuccessful, the cops hunting the vigilante story worked pretty well. Jordan Chan plays Sir Wah, the police officer assigned to catch a vigilante called the masked prosecutor who kidnaps crminals who have been found not guilty on technicalities, and plays hindu/buddhist music while caning them as punishment for their crimes. The movie really belongs to Louis Koo, who plays the masked prosecutor, a police officer for many yearswho went to jail for shooting a drug/narcotics suspect after he had surrendered. He seems to be doing this in part because he feels it was unjust for him to have been in jail while criminals go free and also out of a sense of guilt because in chasing down the narcotics/robbery suspect, he accidently fatally shot his partner who was also the younger brother of his fiance. The third partner of the masked prosecutor and the other cop was Guy, who while 6 months from retirment is partnered with Jordan Chan to catch the masked prosecutor and is terribly conflicted when he finds out it is his former artner who was like an adopted son to him. I did not think that the supernatural element was really dealt with. The movie starts with the cation "The demon of the dark is one of the eighty demons of protection and is the police chief in hell" and when the masked prosecutor is first seen abducting one of his victims, his mask changes colors and patterns as if by magic, but this idea never really goes anywhere. Nevertheless, an interesting movie and worth seeing.