Bulletproof Monk (2003)

Yun-Fat Chow and Seann William Scott in Bulletproof Monk

Bulletproof ends up being shot down

One thing is for sure "Bulletproof Monk" is not for the discerning fan of movies, in fact it seems more of a movie for those suffering from a poor attention span. From it's various and numerous action sequences through to the trio of stars which make it easy on the eye, everything about it screams out that it's a movie for those not interested in storyline. Which is a good thing because ultimately the storyline to "Bulletproof Monk" is pointless and suffers from gaping plot holes, one so huge it makes the whole movie pointless.

Having been given the honour of protecting an ancient and powerful scroll a nameless monk (Yun-Fat Chow) finds himself coming to the end of his 60 year task and looking for someone to take over. That is when he stumbles across Kar (Seann William Scott - Old School), a small time pickpocket who the monk believes is the next chosen one despite being ultimately quite self centred. But with a group of bad guys desperate to get their hands on the ancient scripture it's not going to be simple.

Seann William Scott and Jaime King in Bulletproof Monk

One of the many issues I have with "Bulletproof Monk" is that the storyline is ultimately pointless as the Monk with no name protects the scroll which gives people ultimate power, why not just destroy the thing and be done with, problems sorted and then no need for this movie. But anyway ignoring that gaping plot hole "Bulletproof Monk" draws on various other movies such as "Indiana Jones" with Nazis trying to get their hands on the scroll during the war and even has a semi "Star Wars" side to it with the master looking for a pupil to carry on the knowledge. None of which makes it any the better because whilst there is a cobbled together storyline "Bulletproof Monk" is all about the action and the comedy.

As action movies go it starts off quite well with a truly awesome fight scene on the rope bridge but then descends into a series of fight scenes which not only tend to be repetitive but also so snappily edited that you can get a headache or seizure from watching them. Using the same styling that made the "Matrix" movies such a hit the action should be spot on and for many that snappy editing more at home in a music video will probably wow, but for me it was almost painful because whilst it makes it quick it spoils the flow giving it that feel of being manufactured rather than believable. It seriously doesn't help that by the end of things you feel like you've seen it before.

Add to the misery or at least for this reviewer was the cookie style philosophy mixed with comedy. Again I am sure some will find amusement from the less than profound philosophy going on in "Bulletproof Monk" but it borders on the corny as does many of the jokes. Maybe I was expecting something greater, even cleverer but the sort of humour and quasi mysticism ends up becoming annoying.

The saving grace to "Bulletproof Monk" is in the performances and most notably from Chow Yun-Fat who manages to get through all the corniness and disastrous attempt at mysticism with an air of grace. You wonder how he didn't end up smirking when delivering some of the most cheesy of platitudes but he doesn't and gives the various action sequences he performs in a bit of class. Opposite Chow Yun-Fat is Seann William Scott who is surprisingly entertaining as the chose one, a pickpocket called Kar and Jamie King doesn't let the side down as Jade. But everyone else suffers because their characters end up being too obvious, too played for comical effect and makes it almost painful to watch.

What this all boils down to is that "Bulletproof Monk" could be described as a movie made for the MTV generation with it's numerous action scenes, nice looking cast and so much snappy editing that blink and you will miss something. But for those expecting anything more other than obvious comedy and action will be disappointed especially when it comes to the ultimately pointless storyline.