Bulletproof Monk (Blu-ray)
Picture: B Sound: B Extras: D Film: C-
only by Jet Li, no potentially big martial arts star got stuck with more bad
scripts than Chow Yun-Fat. Why the
stalling? Does Hollywood still have a
problem with non-white action stars?
Does anyone at the studios know what to do with such talent
anymore? Would this explain why we do
not have another Schwarzenegger? As I
suffered through Music Video director Paul Hunter’s feature film debut Bulletproof Monk, MGM’s hope for a hit
after Die Another Day, I could not
believe how bad it was.
the keeper of an important scroll, but despite not being that old, feels he
needs to train a new keeper just in case.
Unfortunately, his best chance is a goofy punky kid named Kar (Seann
William Scott in another throwaway role where he essentially plays himself) who
somehow Fat’s “monk with no name” sees potential in. Of course, it is a part joke in a film that
does not know if it wants to be funny or offer serious action. Like so many such films that do so to be
ideologically safe and politically correct, the film is awful and has aged
star never took off and especially after The
Dukes Of Hazzard feature, probably never will. Jamie King is not bad as “the girl” who
happens to know who to fight, but her role is too marginalized to be
interesting. Mako adds some weight and
authenticity to the film, but it is not nearly enough. Hunter has directed some good Videos, but
could not translate that talent to a narrative.
When people ask me why the latest martial arts cycle died, this is a
film I often site. It’s ultimately
condescending attitude (from the lame Ethan Reiff/Cyrus Voris screenplay) did
not fool anyone resulting in poor box office and DVD performance. This was based on a comic book, but I bet
that is high literature as compared to this.
The Blu-ray is the film’s last hurrah, keeping fans of Fat happy.
digital MPEG-2 @ 20 MBPS High Definition image has its share of dated digital
effects like the tired bullet-time bit beyond played out from The Matrix and TV
commercials, but the twist here is that the effects were done by Burt Ward’s
Boy Wonder Visual Effects unit. They
have likely advanced since then. Detail in
general can be limited by the combination of Super 35mm shoot, manipulated
colors and too much digital. The DTS HD
5.1 Master Audio at its lossless 192/24 version has its moments, but shows the
age and limits of this recording. Eric
Serra, who did the not-so-great music for the James Bond film Goldeneye, turns in an even less
memorable music score here.
Special Edition DVD had a set of extras, the 25GB limit of this edition makes
this a basic version with no extras, but then enough is enough.
- Nicholas Sheffo