Bulletproof Monk
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
bulletproof monk This action comedy (based on a comic book) has a streak of intelligence to match its physical energy. And the pairing of the Zen-like Chow with fast-thinking Scott is much better than expected. Chow is a nameless monk protecting a powerful ancient scroll over the course of 60 years from a tenacious Nazi (Roden) and now his even more tenacious granddaughter (Smurfit). His heightened sense of reality lets him dodge bullets, walk on air, and so forth. Now in New York, he teams up with the street thief Kar (Scott) and the mystery girl Jade (King, who's changed her first name from James to Jaime) to fulfil a prophecy and save the planet. Oh, and he needs to find a successor to protect the scroll after he's gone.

The ludicrous story works well; even though it's terribly silly and forgettable, the verbal and visual wit keep us laughing. Colourful characters fly at the screen every few minutes, along with outrageous stunts, manic set pieces and witty dialog. Music-video director Hunter keeps things lively, with hysterically choreographed action that makes us scratch our heads with delight. And Chow and Scott are inspired heroes, with just the right balance of chemistry and antagonism. Chow is especially hilarious as he speaks in nonstop aphorisms and sends up his own Crouching Tiger fighting style. Meanwhile, King does her best to keep up with things. Overall, the film has an engaging mix of cocky hipness and goofy silliness, with lots of film references thrown in. And it's no mean feat to make a film this smart look so fluffy and stupid!

cert 12 themes, violence, language 14.Apr.03

dir Paul Hunter
scr Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris
with Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott, Jaime King, Karel Roden, Victoria Smurfi, Marcus Jean Pirae, Mako, Roger Yuan, Chris Collins, Sean Bell, Kishaya Dudley, Rob Archer
release US/UK 18.Apr.03
03/US 1h45

Take that. The monk (Chow) shows Kar (Scott) a thing or two...

chow scott king
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... bulletproof monk "The plot is predictable, you know what will happen, and almost know how it will end ... but go see it! It is about a monk who has dedicated his life to protecting the scroll - now after 60 years, he needs to find a successor for the next 60 years - but he is being chased by a nutty Nazi, for 60 years, who now has a psychotic granddaughter helping him. Like I said: predictable, but enjoyable and fun! My husband said he could see a sequel in the making." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 25.Apr.03
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall