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"Black Mask," "The Mummy" and on video "Saving Private Ryan" 

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Black MaskThe MummyNow On Video: Saving Private Ryan




"Black Mask" OK, if you're looking for a movie that features a guy sporting a black cardboard mask who's kung-fuing a fishnet-clad, purple-wig-wearing babe while dangling on a crane some 200 feet above Hong Kong — this is the movie for you! Oh wait, you must also not care a whit about such things as dialogue, character development and a plausible plot.

Although Jet Li (the best thing about "Lethal Weapon 4") gets top billing in this just-now-released 1997 movie, the real star is Hong Kong fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping. "Black Mask" overflows with Ping's expertise in its over-the-top, beyond-belief violence.

As to the story, it has something to do with an escapee from a biochemically enhanced commando unit (Hmmm, sound familiar Jean-Claude fans?) who must battle his old comrades to save the future world from their evil, revengeful clutches.



"The Mummy" All hell breaks loose when rival groups of bounty hunters and Egyptologists uncover the tomb of cursed, undead high priest Imhotep (the sinister and sexy Arnold Vosloo). The special effects in Stephen Sommers' movie are creepy and exciting, but the story is as dry as dust. This lackluster parody of dozens of B-movie desert epics feels mummified itself. Brendan Fraser sheds his "George of the Jungle" loincloth for jodhpurs and pith helmet, but he's still not believable.

Universal Pictures is responsible for both the original 1932 Boris Karloff frightfest and this "reimagining." Coining that new word is perhaps the most frightening aspect of this lifeless remake. What other classics are those fiends at Universal "reimagining" this very minute?

Catch this Indiana Jones "Temple of Doom" wannabe on video. Trust me.



Now On Video

"Saving Private Ryan" The Steven Spielberg epic is now on home video. If you missed this harrowing look at war when it played the multiplexes, you really should see it now. It is a technical masterpiece that does not shortchange character or emotion. Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Tom Sizemore create indelible impressions in this ensemble piece. The first 30 minutes will leave you numb, horrified and ashamed.

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