Bulletproof Monk is another title that takes everything it's got right from other movies. Its biggest influence is The Matrix. There are several fight scenes that will make you laugh out loud because it is copied almost move for move. Everyone loves overdone bullet-time, right?
Bulletproof Monk is centered around "Monk" (Chow Yun-Fat) who at the beginning of the film we find out has been enlightened and is to serve 60 years protecting the "Scroll of the Ultimate." Whoever reads this scroll gains youth and ultimate power. To show his supreme devotion he has "forgotten" his name (meaning given it up), hence the Monk title he now goes by. Following enlightenment his duties of protecting the scroll begin immediately. A Nazi commander Strucker (Karel Roden), knows of the powers of the scroll and won't stop pursuing him until he has it.
60 years later...Kar (Seann Wiliam Scott), a thief and pickpocket, is constantly getting in trouble with the law. Kar and Monk bump into each other in the subway as two separate groups are pursuing each of them. When a kid falls onto the tracks they both miraculously have time to pause from running and go back to save the girl, and then disappear down the subway tracks together. This is how Kar's journey to enlightenment begins.
Monk decides that Kar, although a thief, has potential of becoming enlightened. As Monk and Kar train for the future, we get a great rip-off scene from The Matrix. We are thrown into an empty warehouse where Monk and Kar duke it out a la Matrix training program. After training Monk and Kar are interrupted yet again and have to fight some more to protect the scroll. When Monk is taken by Nina (Victoria Smurfit), the granddaughter of Strucker, Kar gets some help from our last hero Jade (Jaime King), who he just happens to have a crush on. Kar and Jade must not let the scroll fall into the hands of Strucker...they are stuck in the ultimate battle for the universe.
Bulletproof Monk is not a good movie. There are a lot of chase scenes that tend to get repetitive. There are a lot of movies that can pull of some beautiful wirework; Bulletproof Monk is not one of these. The characters float, spin, and fly but are unable to hide the wobbliness of the poor wirework. As far as character development goes, we do get some pretty good insights to how Monk and Kar came to be. The relationship between Kar and Jade, however, is very sparse and we only really see it during the last 30 or 45 minutes of the movie. Even the dialogue was lacking and sounded forced most of the time.
I think Bulletproof Monk could have been fun. There were just too many things that ended up getting in the way of me actually enjoying the movie. The biggest factor was the movie borrowing several scenes from other action-packed films and not even getting close to doing them well.
Presented with a MPEG 2 @ 20 MBPS at 1080P we get decent video at most. There are several times that the noise is very apparent throughout and not just in spots. There are also several times when the image looks very flat. When it comes to composition, it is not good either. There is one scene in particular near the beginning where Monk is fighting behind a beautiful backdrop with clouds rolling in but you can totally tell it is a green screen. So much that it makes you laugh. The only good thing it has going for it is that the blacks are actually pretty decent...and of course the few times the image doesn't have grain.
DTS HD 5.1. Yep, that's about all there is to say about it. The sound is not a great transfer on this whatsoever. It mainly comes from the center and 2 fronts. My surrounds seemed to have the night off! There were only a few background noises that would carry through the surrounds, and then only a couple of scenes where they were used to their full effect. There is an another Matrix scene with a helicopter and a chain gun that I almost felt bad for my speakers because they were hardly being used. Bulletproof Monk could have used a really nice track to help the film progress.
NONE...unless you want to watch trailers.
Unfortunately, Bulletproof Monk is not fun. I really wanted to be able to get into this film, even though I didn't expect the storyline to be superb...I mean who doesn't like an entertaining action-packed movie once and awhile? There are just too many things that get in the way of letting Bulletproof Monk be entertaining at all. The acting is okay, the wire-work is terrible, the video is sub-par and the same goes with the sound. If you enjoy mindless action that has been ripped off from other movies and done poorly, then Bulletproof Monk is for you! Everyone else out there that enjoys some creativity, good wire-work, great audio and video...oh and good acting...stay away. SKIP IT.