Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bulletproof Monk (2003) Netflix

Lies!  He's holding nothing but lies!
Rating: 3 out of 5 Monk’s That Are Actually Bulletproof

Plot Synopsis:  There is a monk, he’s a like a super monk, and this lineage of super monks gets handed down from master to student, who then becomes master.  Okay?  So then there’s this Nazi, right, and he wants the scroll so he can be an immortal racist dick.  But the Monk, who gave up his name to be the super monk, escapes.  Suddenly we’re in New York, story go!

The Good:

-Opening fight scene isn’t too bad.

-The set pieces, when not clearly green screened are good.

-When Yun Fat Chow gets his powers the prayer wheels spin under their own power.  When a prayer wheel is spun it sends that prayer to heaven.  It’s just an interesting visual touch, as if in the process of inheriting his powers he is also being prayed for. 

-The look of the monk is great, very cool with the brown duster and basic clothing.  The combination of earth tones and clothing textures makes for an interesting ensemble’.

-The soundtrack is great, compositions by Eric Serra featuring music by The Transplants.

-Mister Funktastic is both the best thing and worst thing ever.  His name tattooed across his chest in gothic lettering makes him lean towards worst thing ever.

-Sean William Scott is actually pretty good in this.  He toned down his “Stiffler-ness” and actually puts in a great, subtle leading man performance.  Plus it seems like he put the effort and learned some martial arts for this or at least learned how to fake it well.

-Oh hey, it’s Mako.

-This movie really picks up after that first sequence.  It is greatly improved by the interplay between Fat and Scott.

-Jaime King is alright I guess but her accent when she speaks Chinese is terrible.  I don’t even speak the language, I’m not even sure she’s speaking Chinese but I’ve watched enough Asian movies and when compared to Yun-Fat Chow’s accent it is very apparent and grating.

-I like how The Monk is always smiling, Yun-Fat Chow just has a very gentle, warm smile.

-The final battle is pretty alright it’s nothing new or innovative but it serves well enough as the climax.

The Bad:

-“You must forget your name.” “I already forgot…” “There’s no time, we must cut to the next scene.”

-So, the Bulletproof Monk is not actually bulletproof?  In fact he seems pretty vulnerable to bullets.

-This movie isn’t doing much to hook me early.  What was the point of the opening scene?  So far it doesn’t seem like anything that couldn’t have been told in flashback later on.  There’s a 60 year time skip during the opening sequence.  Things get more interesting after the time skip.  If the movie opened in the present day there would be more intrigue and seeing the past scene would mean more.  As it is it just feels totally out of place.

-I remember the ads for this movie made it seem there was going to be heavy gunplay, in particular a focus on the one second of film where The Monk is actually holding a gun.  That is not the case at all.

-Sean Williams Scotts first act as the new master monk is to straight up murder a guy.

The Ugly:

-We open on a CG butterfly.  While the effect itself isn’t terrible it doesn’t match with anything else on screen.

-Oh hey, this was filmed in front of a green screen.  You know how I know?  Everyone is outlined like they’re in a damn comic book.

Final Thoughts:  The movie isn’t bad, the worst thing I can say is that it’s not great.  It is just incredibly mediocre.  It’s competently done, except for the parts where it’s not, the fight scenes are okay, the performances are good, and the plot is okay.  It’s just a lot meh.  It’s like 10 pounds of meh in a 5 pound sack.  When something is this meh it’s hard to even write about it because it doesn’t fail in any interesting ways.  I wasn’t even that bored by it but I wasn’t all that intrigued by it either.  It just sort of happens and then it’s done.  That’s all there really is to say about it.  It’s new on Netflix so if you have a subscription and you feel a NEED to see it then check it out but there are dozens of movies, most of which are also on Netflix, that do this basic plot or aspects of this plot, way better.

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