REVIEW: The Masked Prosecutor (1999)

themaskedprosecutor

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1999, Proxious Entertainment Group Ltd.

Director:
Herman Yau
Producer:
Nam Yin
Writers:
Lam Kee-To
Nam Yin
Cinematography:
Joe Chan
Editing:
Azrael Chung

Cast:
Jordan Chan (Wah Kai-Lun)
Louis Koo (Tong Hu-Tai)
Blackie Ko (Guy Wong)
Grace Yip (Wong Siu-Yu)
Wayne Lai (Leung Siu-Chung)
Turbo Law (Kwong)
Jessica Hester (Ada)
Michael Tse (Chi-Lin)
Frankie Ng (Ng Mang)
Jazz Lam (Teenager)

A masked vigilante takes to the streets of Hong Kong in this thriller from renowned director Herman Yau (The Untold Story).

Leung Siu-Chung, a notorious criminal, has been acquitted of charges involving a young girl. On the night of his acquittal, he is caught by a mysterious man wearing a black slicker and changeable masks. He kidnaps Leung and forces him to be caned. The next morning, Leung is dropped off at the police station, practically forcing him to confess to his previous crime. In charge of the case is Wah Kin-Lun, who is partnered up with veteran Guy, who is due for retirement in six months.

The masked prosecutor is former police officer Tong, who was held responsible for the death of his partner years ago. Tong and his partner were adopted sons of Guy, as he mentored them in the ways of the police force. Tong has taken it upon himself to seek redemption by acting as a vigilante. However, due to his unorthodox ways and unstable mentality, when crime boss Kwong has been acquitted, Tong decides to upgrade the punishment to death. Can Wah and Guy be able to stop Tong before it’s too late?

Herman Yau is one of Hong Kong’s most versatile filmmakers. While he is perhaps known for his true story horror film The Untold Story and by today’s standards, his unrelated martial arts films revolving around Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man (The Legend is Born: Ip Man and Ip Man: The Final Fight), Yau can work well with any genre. In fact, he does quite well with this dark action thriller about a masked vigilante who tracks down acquitted criminals and instead of killing them, canes them as a means of punishment.

Jordan Chan plays the lead investigator in charge, who seems to have something in common with the vigilante as they are both devout followers of Hinduism, which plays a pivotal role in the film. Notably the chants used, as the vigilante forces his victims to listen to the chants as he unleashes his punishment. As for the vigilante, Louis Koo brings in one of his darkest roles to date

as we get a glimpse on Tong’s backstory as to why he ultimately becomes the titular “masked prosecutor”, with the emphasis on “masked” as he changes masks with just a flick or turn of his head!

The late stuntman extraordinare Blackie Ko churns out a believable acting role as the soon-to-be retired Guy, who has his reservations about both his new supervisor and that of the “masked” as well. Grace Yip sadly doesn’t offer much to the role of Guy’s daughter Siu-Yu, except only to be there as Wah’s potential love interest. Thankfully, despite having cameo appearances, Jessica Hester and Michael Tse provide roles that are vital to the story of the masked vigilante while former kung fu star Turbo Law (known as Lo Meng to classic kung fu film fans) makes the most out of his appearance as the wanted target of the masked. Hung Cheung-Tak provides pretty good fight scenes when it comes to the masked taking on thugs or even his brief fight against Chan midway through the film.

The Masked Prosecutor is a pretty good thriller that emphasizes not only on revenge, but relationships and Hinduism, all driven by worthy performances by Jordan Chan, Louis Koo, and the late Blackie Ko.

WFG RATING: B+

This title is currently out of print, but was available on DVD by Universe Entertainment Ltd.

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