My friend Eben “Don’t Call Me Evan” Burnham-Snyder forwarded this
link from the New York Times that is a hilarious recounting of the
obsession that is TiVo. Required reading:
Eben, dammit, I love you.
Long-time Bellviewers know that Chow Yun-Fat
is my favorite living actor. So, even though “Bulletproof Monk”
looks like dogshit in the trailers, I had to see it because I see
all of Chow’s films.
Oh, friends, please hold me and keep me warm
at night...”Bulletproof Monk” is just ridiculously bad. By bad, I
mean atrocious. By atrocious, I mean fucking shitty shit-shit. By
fucking shitty shit-shit, I mean Hard Vice.
Chow is playing this Tibetan monk that has
to protect this scroll that apparently could destroy the world if it
falls in the wrong hands...or something. Every 60 years, the holder
of the scroll is supposed to hand off the damned thing to a new
scrollholder...so, since the world only has like six billion people,
Chow’s character is in NEW YORK CITY on the 60th year and decides to
recruit a young street thief that has little-to-no martial arts
experience, is nice to homeless guys and looks almost exactly like
Stifler from “American Pie” to take over the scroll duties.
Oh, wait...that IS Stifler from “American
Pie”, Seann William Scott! I think Scott is hilarious, and he is
the classic “Do one thing and do it well” actor when he is cast as
the dumb frat guy sidekick that has defined his early career. Cast
here as an action hero, the producers of “Bulletproof Monk” ought to
be shot. While their chemistry is somewhat intriguing, this film is
wrought with issues that can only be handled by simply not making a
film of this type ever again. Why do American filmmakers think that
Chow is a martial artist? He only made a few films like that in his
early career...since then, he has defined the modern action hero
with his famous two-fisted gunplay films with John Woo and other
Asian directors over the last 15 years in front of his American film
debut “The Replacement Killers.” Watching Chow throw punches and
kicks in “Bulletproof Monk” (with the considerable help of stunt
doubles, wires and the like), I just felt bad for him, and watching
Scott do likewise was almost as embarrassing. Even a gratuitous
scene where Chow’s character catches two handguns and spins around
in slow-motion was offensive; lifted from the so-so “Killers” film,
it doesn’t make any sense in a film about a freakin’ monk.
The film is even rated PG-13, which is
almost always a no-no when it comes to my favorite action star.
This worked fine in
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, but it makes
the action scenes in “Bulletproof Monk” come off as soft, something
Chow Yun-Fat definitely is not. Even worse is that the film never
quite defines for me why this monk or anyone that holds the scroll
is really “bulletproof.” Oh, and how do the bad guys led by a Nazi
(Karel Roden) and his granddaughter (Victoria Smurfit...insert joke
here) keep finding Chow and Scott’s characters? New York
City--at least, from the 30 times I have come to visit--is a pretty
fucking big place, yet every time the twosome walk outside, the bad
guys are standing around waiting with machine guns. Do they have
Monkdar or something? And, why is Chow in New York in the first
place? The world has hundreds of cities, but it is never relayed to
the audience why the action takes place in the Big Apple.
Bad on almost all levels. Jamie King is not
bad looking as the love interest, and that bulletproof Escalade that
shows up near the end is pretty sweet. Otherwise, this blows.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard