Bulletproof Monk


Directed by: Paul Hunter
Written by:Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott, Jaime King, Karel Roden, Victoria Smurfit
Released: June 12, 2003
Grade: C

American Pie proved that Seann William Scott is a funny guy and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon showed that Chow Yun-Fat is martial arts guru.  Yet when you bring this unlikely combination together for a funny, martial arts flick, you get a very, very, very boring result.

In Tibet 1943, an unnamed monk (Yun-Fat) earned the responsibility of guarding a sacred scroll.  Anyone who read the words of the scroll would be blessed with incredible powers and therefore it had to be closely guarded to protect it from evil hands.  When a group of Nazis attacked the monestary where the scroll was kept, the monk was forced to flee to evade capture.

Sixty years later, his travels have taken him to America.  He is tired and understands it is time to hand down the responsibility of the scroll to someone else.  Given guidance from the gods to help find this “chosen one”, he comes across Kar (Scott) – a petty thief who lives and works in a movie theatre specialising in Chinese cinema.  Kar thinks the monk and his philosophical sayings are crazy but the two become a united team when each other’s lives are threatened.  A Nazi from the past is still looking for the scroll and is stopping at nothing to obtain it.

Judging from the audience’s half-hearted laughs, I wasn’t alone in declaring Bulletproof Monk a waste of space and time.  The screenplay is ridiculously far-fetched and the two leading stars have no chance to showcase their humour.  Scott tries a more sarcastic, laidback persona which doesn’t suit the childish material.  Yun-Fat simply doesn’t belong here.  Even worse are the Nazi officer and his granddaughter.  Somebody needs to show director Paul Hunter a book of overused stereotypes to help him out.

The title suggests very little and on that scale, Bulletproof Monk delivers with precision.