‘Monk’ not good, not bad

Zack Sparks

GRADE: C+

It’s always hard to review movies like “Bulletproof Monk.” It’s one of those movies that isn’t that good, but isn’t that bad either. It was made just to entertain, and for the most part, it succeeds.

Hong Kong acting legend Chow Yun-Fat stars as a monk in charge of protecting a scroll with the power to give its reader total world domination. But his time to protect the scroll is coming to an end, and he must find his successor.

Enter Seann William Scott, who appeared in such “classics” as “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and “American Pie.”

Though Scott is a pickpocket, Yun-Fat believes Scott is his successor. The majority of the movie is Yun-Fat and Scott trying to keep the scroll out of the hands of an evil Nazi who tried to steal the scroll 60 years earlier.

What really struck me about the movie is the fact that it knows it’s a spin-off of other action flicks, mainly “Rush Hour.” Scott’s character even says so when a subway train rushes by him and he deadpans, “Hmm. Rush hour.”

Yun-Fat, to this reviewer, doesn’t have the same charm that Jackie Chan does (granted, Chan uses his fight scenes for comedy elements, whereas Yun-Fat seems to lean toward showing off technical fighting prowess), and Scott most certainly is no Chris Tucker, both in terms of talent and humor.

But Yun-Fat and Scott seem to strike a chord with each other, and their comedy works well. The movie is more of an action film, with less comedic elements than some of its peers.

The fight scenes, while being really cool, also totally rip off effects and moves from other flicks like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” But a few of the moves that Yun-Fat flips and twirls through are really fascinating and well done.

Another gripe I had with the movie was that director Paul Hunter, a veteran of music videos and commercials, really didn’t seem to know what he was doing. Some of the camera angles are just plain dumb, and the movie lacked that sense of style that pervaded “Rush Hour.”

The editing is also a headache, with some shots lasting for just a split second. The movie may have been trying to instill a sense of frantic action, but it really just became annoying after a while. At times, it became difficult to tell exactly what was happening.

But the movie was still enjoyable. It found that mix of action, humor, drama and coolness that exudes from other similar movies like “The Matrix.”

Scott, while his talent leaves much to be desired, still manages to fend well with the material he’s given. With more time and experience, he could turn into a viable comedy star, something like a poor man’s Adam Sandler.

“Bulletproof Monk” is a cool movie that can be a good diversion for people who like this type of flick. Overall, I wouldn’t say it’s totally “bulletproof.” But it certainly does take a licking and keep on ticking.

Reach Zack Sparks at [email protected]