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Starring: Brennan Thicke, Sharon Noble, Brendan McKane, Doug Stone, Mark Halloran and others
What they say: After the death of his teenage brother Andy, multi-millionaire Matt Trakker uncovers an international criminal organization known as V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem) Trakker gathers a group of friends who, like himself, possess extraordinary talents and creates M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) Their objective; to destroy V.E.N.O.M. and its mastermind – Miles Mayhem, the man responsible for Andy’s death.
What I say: The complete series comes inside of a box which contains two DVD cases holding 6 DVDs each. Sooo basic math here… you get 12 DVDs that have all 65 episodes of Season One in Full Frame (1.33:1). To call it a complete series would be a little bit of misinformation. There was a second season. It was a short lived 10 episode series that was about racing more than anything. I can see Shout’s decision to not include those episodes in this set. The extras include a 14 minute featurette called Unmasking MASK and feature two of the head writers of the show. The second featurette is about 20 minutes long and is pretty much fans of the show talking about all the funny problems the show had.
Mask crusaders, working all the time, fighting crime, fighting crime! These guys are fighting so much crime that they have to remind you twice in the lyrics. Much like Transformers and Gi Joe; M.A.S.K. was one of those shows that as a kid I would get up extra early to go and watch. Keep in mind this is on a school day too. I never got up early to get ready for school, but to watch MASK, you bet I was getting up. So please don’t confuse this with the Mask movie from the 80s about a boy with a massive facial deformity or the 90s movie that was really annoying based on a great comic book. Long story short…I loved this cartoon as a child. Come on a Helicopter that turned into a bike! What kid wouldn’t love that!!?
Like the description said MASK is a story of vengeance and honor. Matt Trakker is the leader of an elite Special Forces crime fighting team known as MASK. He wants to avenge his brother that was killed by VENOM, who is led by multimillionaire Miles Mayhem (with a name like that he knew what his career was going to be when he was three!). Each member of the team piloted a special unit vehicle. The vehicles had the capability of transforming to other kinds of vehicles. For example Matt’s Camaro turned into a plane of sorts and my favorite Brad Turner’s Kawasaki Ninja turned into a helicopter. Each member was also given a special helmet (not sure why they called them masks) that would give them special abilities. Like projecting holograms, shooting optic beams, and did I mention that there is a robot called T-bob!?
The show itself is very formulaic. Usually VENOM under the guidance of Miles Mayhem tries to steal something or pull off some kind of crime, but MASK seems to be the only team that can stop them. Or VENOM will kidnap Matt’s son Scott and Matt will use his computer called Spectrum to put together the perfect team for the job. I notice so many more things than I did as a child. Like the use of minorities on the show and their stereotypical dialect. The Asian guy had wise things to say with a thick accent and the black guy was street smart. As a kid, I thought hey that’s the way these things work…I’m sure to white folks I sounded like a third world country migrant worker. Funny how thoughts change with adulthood.
The other I noticed as a grown up is the animation, which by the way looks pretty good on DVD for a show from the 80s. From the amazing anime-like intro to the detailed facial expressions are just some examples. There is a simplicity and complexity to the designs of those vehicles. I mean you just don’t go from plane mode to helicopter mode like a Go-Bot. The backgrounds are beautifully hand painted, yes even that silly gas station in the middle of nowhere. The downfall to the show is in the writing and I some of the wretched voice acting. But if you are a child of the 80s you already have your bowl of cereal out right now and eating while watching MASK!!! If you aren’t well there are better cartoons that represent that era out there, but come on a motorcycle that turns into a helicopter!! Ma…ma…MASK