Firing blanks

The Monk (Chow Yun-Fat) and his reluctant understudy (Seann William Scott)

The Monk (Chow Yun-Fat) and his reluctant understudy (Seann William Scott)  

Bulletproof Monk


Cast: Chow Yun-Fat,

Seann William Scott

Dir: Paul Hunter

AFTER YOU get over the horror of watching an actor of the calibre of Chow Yun-Fat mouthing hysterically inane dialogues, you kind of giggle at the silly campiness of Bulletproof Monk. In the beginning, that is in the 1940s, there is a Tibetan Buddhist monk who gives a scroll to his understudy for safekeeping.

The scroll obviously is no ordinary scroll. Whoever reads it aloud in its entirety will gain the power to control the world. Just after the handover process is completed with much special effects and a great gig in the sky, the wicked Nazis (after being thwarted by Indy over the Ark of the Covenant) decide to take over the scroll and thus become the masters of the universe.

Led by the teeth gnashing Strucker, the Nazis unleash death and destruction but the understudy who has given up his name and gained supernatural powers that includes Matrix-style fighting and reversing the aging process, gives them the slip and lands up in present-day America.

Third generation Nazis led by Strucker's granddaughter, Nina, are still chasing after the monk and his scroll. The monk with no name meets up with a pickpocket, Car, and decides he is the one to take care of the scroll for the next 60 years.

The film is inspired by a comic book of the same name. The fortune cookie (Car's words, not mine) philosophy, the by-the-numbers action sequences, the good girl/bad girl fight, are all so comfortably predictable, that they can be welcomed as old friends.

Seann William Scott comes to Bulletproof Monk from the American Pie movies and can be forgiven. What Chow Yun-Fat is doing in this movie following the grace and dignity of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a little tougher to work out.

The role was written with him in mind and maybe he felt he could not let producer John Woo (where oh where are the slo-mo and the pigeons?) down. There is rap, there is kungfu and there are the girls and the Nazis. Asking for a coherent plot would be mealy mouthed, wouldn't it?


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