BULLETPROOF MONK

3 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 103 minutes
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If you’ve a taste for comic books, there’s definitely no shortage of art inspired celluloid on screens right about now. From blockbusters like Spiderman and Daredevil to imminent hits, “X Men 2,” “Fantastic Four,” and “Hellboy,” it really is comic paradise for blurb aficionados with a proclivity for cinema. And here’s the latest inception, “Bulletproof Monk”, based on the image comics release of the same name.
A mysterious monk (Chow Yun Fat) has spent 60 years ducking and weaving from evildoers desperate to snatch an ancient scroll – the key to ultimate power – from him. He’s getting on though and decides it time to start looking for a new scroll keeper. Kar (Sean William Scott), a pert street kid, whose only Kung-Fu experience has been learned by way of Chinese cinema, seems the most doubtful aspirant. “The most undisciplined youth I have ever laid eyes on,” remarks the judicious Monk.
But sure enough, Kar proves himself more than a promising pupil by saving the Monk’s life and signifying his ability to clash and shield. With the aid of a sexy Russian princess, named Jade (Jamie King), the threesome take on an evil union, determined to see the scroll land in their hands.
Riddled with awesome fight scenes, outfitted with a great tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, and equipped with one of the screen’s most interesting duo’s of recent times, “Bulletproof Monk” translates very well from the pages of a comic. It’s a film that walks a fine-line between serious superhero flick and slapstick, giving the audience a conglomerate of great martial arts moments intertwined with some very funny dialogue and impetus.
Sean William Scott – in his first action movie – provides much of the humor, bringing the elements of “Stifler” (his character from American Pie) and blending it with a wet-behind-the-ears pupil drawing to great success. He again proves himself a hilarious young actor whilst also showcasing another side to him, the action hero. It’s a plodding change from nobody to somebody though, for the character, and it comes across as quite credible. “You can sit on your butt and do nothing or fly from the ashes of your pathetic life,” he’s told by his employer, a wise theatre projectionist.
Co-star Chow Yun Fat is very at home in the role of the heroic, almost larger-than-life super Monk. The film doesn’t give the actor much a chance to act, but he absolutely shines in the action sequences, be it armed with blazing pistols or plummeting from car rooftops.
As Jade, sexy Jamie King proves herself quite a formidable heroine. She’s fast, she’s sleek, and she’s the picture of resistance. If Daredevil’s Elektra needs competition – let Jade be it.
“Bulletproof Monk” isn’t the blockbuster Spider-Man or X-Men is – largely due to a lack of effects and effective eye-popping action – but if you’re a fan of martial arts, and fancy an alternative to the heavy going comic adaptations ahead, then this is your bag.
Here’s to the start of a cool new franchise.



Posted on April 15, 2003 in Reviews by
Buffer


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