Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Bulletproof Monk (2003)
12

Having successfully put the art into martial arts in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", Eastern hero Chow Yun-Fat returns to Hollywood to team up with "American Pie" star Seann William Scott in this truly naff, but endearingly silly, actioner based on a little-known comic book.

After being pick-pocketed by petty thief Kar (Scott), "The Monk With No Name" decides this unlikely chancer might be the warrior destined to succeed him as guardian of a sacred Tibetan scroll that's sought by a group of Nazis.

The fact that Kar doesn't understand the wisdom of the East, and honed his fighting skills by watching back-to-back Bruce Lee flicks at the Golden Palace Movie Theatre, doesn't sound too promising. But sometimes heroes come in strange packages.

Squarely aimed at prepubescent boys, "Bulletproof Monk" panders to every conceivable teenage male fantasy, from learning martial arts skills by standing in front of a cinema screen, to being pursued by a dominatrix-clad Nazi villainess and tussling with a feisty heroine named "Bad Girl" (Jaime King).

That it succeeds beyond such limited scope says a lot about the charismatic screen presence of Chow Yun-Fat. Completely at ease with his ropey English accent and whatever doubts he may have had about selling out to the Yankee dollar, his self-deprecating performance as the Cocoa Pops-munching monk is never less than entertaining.

To his credit, Seann William Scott proves a perfect foil, matching his co-star in the charm stakes, and obviously enjoying every moment of their hilarious mentor/grasshopper relationship, not least of all the scenes in which the Monk teaches him Buddhism for Dummies: "Why do hotdogs always come in packs of ten when hotdog buns come in packs of eight?"

The film ends without actually offering an answer to that age-old conundrum. But heck, what did you expect from a dumb, comic strip movie? Enlightenment?

End Credits

Director: Paul Hunter

Writer: Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris

Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott, Jaime King, Karel Roden, Victoria Smurfit

Genre: Action, Comedy

Length: 103 minutes

Cinema: 18 April 2003

Country: USA

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