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
Being a comics collector, I had to see this movie, since it is based on a comic book. When I left the cinema I was both disappointed and gratified, but looking back on it I found my disappointment waning and my gratification growing. This was - or rather, could have been, if it had been successful enough to spawn a franchise - a new Highlander (which is just about my favorite movie). It had all the elements. Unfortunately, it also had some bad things. That Nazis were the villains is really something I could have done without. It made the movie unintentionally comical (by which I mean laughable, not comic book-like) before it had even gotten well underway. And the Funktastic character has GOT to rate as one of the WORST things in ANY movie EVER (EVER, I say!!). But I think there was enough good stuff in the rest of the movie to make up for these howlers.
The cast indeed was very charismatic and did not feel like just another set of interchangeable Hollywood cronies. I expected not to like Seann William Scott, but I ended up feeling he did a great job (and no, I didn't see the ridiculous American Pie movies, what're you, nuts!?). Despite what others may say, I thought his kung fu was convincing, and his character actually endearing. I've never been that big a fan of Chow Yun Fat, because he's more a gangster movie actor than a kung fu movie actor, and I have no fondness for Hong Kong (or, for that matter, Hollywood) gangster movies. But as in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which I loved and have seen many, many times), he filled his role very nicely here. Note that his superhuman kung fu was explained by his possessing the power of the scrolls; it wasn't just gratuitous. As for Jamie King, she just wowed me totally. She radiated both toughness and beauty (and ultimately, tenderness), and seemed like a believable character. Her being the daughter of a Russian mafia boss made her fighting skills credible.
One of the things I appreciated most about this movie was its ending. I'm usually always disappointed with really badly written Hollywood endings, but I absolutely LOVED this one. For both of the young leads to share the power was a great idea (also serving to bond them in their relationship), and it could make for a superb superhero-like sequel, since their fighting skills were radically increased by the power of the scroll. Unfortunately, we'll probably never see it. *Sigh.*
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