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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Bulletproof Monk (Blu-ray)

Bulletproof Monk (Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: D     Film: C-



Rivaled 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.


Fat is 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 badly.


Scott’s 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.


The 1080p 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.


Though a 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


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