For 60 years a mysterious monk with no name has zigzagged the globe to protect an ancient scroll - a scroll that holds the key to unlimited power. Now the Monk must look for a new scrollkeeper. Kar is an unlikely candidate, a streetwise young man whose only interest is himself. But when he inadvertently saves the Bulletproof Monk from capture, the two become partners in a scheme to save the world from the scroll's most avid pursuer. Packed with spectacular special effects and martial arts action, the Monk, Kar, and a sexy Russian mob princess called Bad Girl must struggle to find, face, and fight the ultimate enemy. Written by
I really shouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did
For a clichéd piece of fluff, because that's clearly what BULLETPROOF MONK is, it's a far better film than you might imagine. Much of that likability rests on whether you like or loathe Seann William Scott, the actor best known for his goofy roles like Stifler in the American PIE films. I have to say, I love his acting and I find him a very funny person, probably the only person in Hollywood today who can bring a smile to my face. So much of my entertainment in this film came from his appearance, playing a thief turned hero.
Elsewhere, this is the kind of bogus mystical flick that gets churned out regularly by studios. It's very similar to THE MEDALLION, with Jackie Chan, which came out in the same year, and I enjoyed it equally as much as that movie. One thing you have to remember is that these are lightly plotted bits of nonsense, heavily clichéd throughout and displaying the kind of wirework I usually loathe. BULLETPROOF MONK is a silly film, sometimes completely stupid like the villain's lair, for instance but it's hard to dislike as a buddy-buddy type comedy.
Chow Yun-Fat is the straight man, used to doing this kind of noble hero stuff in his sleep, and the film just kind of takes place around him. Scott supplies the comedy, I'm not sure what Jaime King is around for other than to look very pretty, and Karel Roden is a Nazi villain who seems to have come straight out of HELLBOY. There are some other amusing bit parts, like the appearance of Mako in one of his last roles, plus British television actress Victoria Smurfit playing another villain with a stiff-upper-lip accent.
The action isn't great, but it has a nicely violent edge for what is essentially a kid's film. I didn't care for the wirework, but the straightforward fighting scenes are good. They rip off Jackie Chan films pretty heavily for the style, choreography and reliance on props, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Special effects are decent and the film has a good pace. While the dialogue isn't entirely credible and some of the minor characters/situations completely laughable, and not in a good way, for the most part BULLETPROOF MONK is amiable tosh and a film I got a lot of enjoyment from.
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