Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Paul
Hunter and producers Charles Roven and Douglas Segal; Featurette
'The Tao of Monk'; Featurette 'The Monk Unrobed'; Behind the scenes;
Photo gallery (50 stills); Deleted scenes; Theatrical trailer.
FROM its absurd name alone, audiences should be aware that Bulletproof
Monk is not a film to be taken seriously.
Hong Kong martial arts maestro, Chow Yun-Fat, stars as The Monk
in question, a Zen-calm master charged with protecting a powerful
ancient scroll which holds the key to unlimited power.
As his 60-year duty nears its end, he travels to America in search
of the scrolls next custodian, a seemingly unsuitable street
hustler and thief, named Kar (American Pies Seann William
Scott), whom he must train in the ways of a protector, while evading
the evil minions of a relentless power-monger who has also been
chasing the scroll for 60 years.
So far, so completely ridiculous. But then, the 12 certificate
should provide a useful indication of the films target audience,
as prepubescent teenagers will no doubt lap up its dubious charms.
Derived from the Flypaper press comic book, the film has long
been intended as a vehicle for Yun-Fat and, to be fair, he is
the best thing about it, developing a strong rapport with Scotts
wise-cracking protégé and playing off the tough
guy image he has become renowned for with relish.
Yet he is frequently ill-served by those around him, from Karel
Rodens hopelessly ill-judged villain, Struker, to Paul Hunters
Hence, scenes involving Rodens master-race
obsessed Nazi border on the cringe-worthy, while Hunters
direction seems content to rip off far superior action sequences;
with The Matrix, in particular, once more providing rich pickings.
A chase and fight sequence halfway through the movie, especially,
feels lifted from The Wachowski brothers movie, while the
over-use of wire-work, coupled with some poor special effects
and half-baked editing, make the fights appear manufactured and
But then, given that it is aimed at such a young audience, those
that see it will probably be having too much fun to notice, as
it expertly plays up to every boyhood fantasy imaginable - from
Jaime Kings shapely heroine to the notion of being able
to learn martial arts skills solely by studying movies.
A mixed bag, then, but one which should appeal to the adolescent
in most men.