Directed by Paul Hunter, starring Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott, Jaime King, Karel Roden, Victoria Smurfit.
Based on a little-known comic book, kung fu actioner 'The Bulletproof Monk' never really manages to transcend its origins, staying firmly rooted in caricature and simplistic plot structure.
The enigmatic "Monk with No Name" (Yun-Fat) is the guardian of an ancient Tibetan scroll which holds the key to unlimited power. Hunted around the world for the past sixty years by an ageing Nazi commander called Struker (Roden), the Monk turns up in San Francisco where he bumps into a petty thief called Kar (Scott). After the unlikely duo save a little girl from certain death on the subway tracks, Kar promptly nicks the precious artefact. Despite this, his lack of discipline and the fact that he's learned his kung fu moves from Bruce Lee films, the Monk gradually comes to believe that Kar just might be his preordained successor.
So it's a master and grasshopper set-up, complicated by the evil cartoon villain Struker, his black leather-clad dominatrix granddaughter (Smurfit) and a sexy Russian Mafia princess called Bad Girl (King). While there's some chemistry between Hong Kong action star Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott ('American Pie', 'Dude, Where's My Car?'), there's no doubt that the lightweight Scott is acted off every scene by a man who can barely even speak English.
Whether he is dangling from a helicopter or forced to mouth fake Eastern platitudes, Yun-Fat is engaging and eminently watchable. Although Jamie King's Bad Girl character is one-dimensional - only present to act as a romantic foil to Kar and partake in the obligatory b*tch fight with Victoria Smurfit - she wears her well and the interaction between the three lead characters adds some much-needed entertainment value to a thinly-worn plot.
Fight scenes are filmed as though they were music videos, which may be unsurprising considering director Paul Hunter's background in advertising and video but is more than a little wearing over the course of an entire film.
Kar accuses the Monk of "fortune cookie philosophy". This is fortune cookie filmmaking at it's very laziest.