A brand-spanking new life.

Ye Cha (a.k.a. The Masked Prosecutor)

The Masked Prosecutor is a very strange film from Hong Kong.  It features a very weird story where folks who were able to somehow avoid justice in the courts are soon captured and punished by a masked man.  This vigilante wears a Chinese-style mask and leather full trench coat—and has almost magical athletic powers (plus he has a GREAT fashion sense).  The masked man later tortures the evil-doers in his lair and beats their buttocks with a cane sword—inflicting horrible scars.  Then, he tosses the victims out of his car as he passes a police station—and the evil-doers are thrilled to see the police!  In one case, the victim is shown confessing to ANYTHING—just so the police agree to protect him!

In many ways the set-up for this film is very similar to the excellent Japanese anime movie Judge (1991).  Both men feel a need to punish folks who clearly deserve this but who have somehow beaten the system—often due to money used to pay off jurors or because of insane technicalities.  The big difference, apart from The Masked Prosecutor being live action, is that while the anti-hero seems almost magical, he is indeed mortal—he just is really, really good at what he does.  In Judge, he has magical powers and dispatches his victims to Hell—and does give not need to administer a literal butt-whipping!

Now the plot MIGHT sound like it’s a kinky film.  Rest assured that is isn’t.  During the few scenes showing bloody butts, I cannot imagine anyone deriving sexual gratification from the movie, as it is making a serious attempt to both entertain and make a statement—it’s NOT porn.  One clear statement I got was that feelings in the average person for such justice are pretty much universal—whether it’s in communist China (i.e., Hong Kong), Japan or anywhere else.  Here in the States, we’ve had a few films with similar themes—though they generally weren’t done quite as well nor as stylishly as The Masked Prosecutor.  In fact, this is the big reason I really liked this movie—it was very exciting, has some really nice action sequences and really appealed to a desire in most of us to administer severe butt-whippings (or worse) to folks who flaunt justice.  Plus, while the film did not excuse the vigilante’s actions (it was told from the viewpoint of the cop trying to catch him), it was hilarious watching the police react to the newly beaten victims.  Seeing the police laughing was pretty funny.  I am only surprised the police didn’t end up being more like the ones in the American film Death Wish—where they knew who the vigilante was and simply let him go at the end of the film!

If you do decide to watch this film, it is currently available through Netflix.  However, one bit of warning—like quite a few Chinese films I have seen, the translation is pretty bad.  Too often the subtitles are grammatical nightmares, though you can still understand the movie. I rate this A-

Article by Lead Entertainment Writer & Film Critic, Martin Hafer