It’s a pretty special week here at BMTHQ. That’s because it’s Bulletproof Monk week. Bulletproof Monk has been recommended for BMT not once. Not twice. But at least three times by three different people. From Minnesota to New Jersey to Massachusetts this movie apparently confuses and delights. Why haven’t we watched it before? It just never felt like the right time. Now is the right time. Not only is the film the epitome of the one-and-done director film, but it also happens to feature Mako, an actor featured in our last Chain Reaction film Conan the Destroyer. It’s almost as if the BMT gods smiled down on us and provided the perfect movie for the perfect moment. Let’s go!
Bulletproof Monk (2003) – BMeTric: 43.0
(Again, solid score. I think when you are looking at movies which started and ended a person’s career it is pretty likely you’ll end up near 50 BMeTric if it is bad. When these are bad they are very very bad indeed.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 1/2 stars – Chow plays a monk that never ages while he guards an ancient scroll that possesses the secret to infinite power … but now it’s time to find a successor, and he think it may be young pickpocket Scott, of all people. Lively and amusing when it doesn’t get too silly; alas special effects take the place of genuine martial arts action most of the time. Coproduced by John Woo, and based on a comic book of the same name.
(First, strong semicolon game from Leonard as usual. Second, “young pickpocket” yes! Third, like The Medallion and The Tuxedo before it, silly movies with garbage CGI replacing genuine martial arts action is the bane of the martial arts action genre for me. Very few movies that try and replace actual martial arts with wire-work or CGI end up working out as far as I’m concerned. Crouching Tiger is an example of the rare exception)
(But … but why? Why is this happening to us? The music. The garbage humor. The terrible CGI. The racist/gay panic humor (I’m just guessing on that one). This is the early 2000s. I am officially excited. Brain, you are officially on alert, get ready for a world of pain this week.)
Directors – Paul Hunter – (BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Notes: Famous commercial and music video director that kind of blurred the lines between the two. You would know him best for the Nike Freestyle Rhythm commercial.)
Writers – Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (written by) – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Robin Hood; BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Notes: Writing partners. Both attended NYU but met for the first time at graduation. The writers of the upcoming Karate Kid sequel… they really love martial arts films.)
Actors – Yun-Fat Chow – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Anna and the King; Curse of the Golden Flower; Hard Boiled; BMT: Dragonball: Evolution; Beginning of the Great Revival; Bulletproof Monk; The Replacement Killers; Notes: Famous Hong Kong actor. Started in dramatic acting, not martial arts, so kind of the reverse of many of the stars we’ve seen in BMT.)
Seann William Scott – (Known For: American Pie; Old School; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Road Trip; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Evolution; Role Models; Ice Age: The Meltdown; Goon; American Wedding; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; The Rundown; The Promotion; BMT: Movie 43; The Dukes of Hazzard; Mr. Woodcock; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Bulletproof Monk; Cop Out; Southland Tales; Planet 51; Notes: Grew up in Minnesota, not too far from Rochester. Got his break as Stifler in American Pie, for which he was reportedly paid $8000.)
Budget/Gross – $52 million / Domestic: $23,358,708 (Worldwide: $37,713,879 Worldwide)
(Jeez Louise, what a bomb. Just a catastrophe. I wonder where the misfire came from? The budget doesn’t seem absurd. I guess just a miscalculation of the genre in the wake of Crouching Tiger maybe? There were a few fake-martial-arts film flops in the early 2000s it seems.)
#17 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre, narrowly beating out (speak of the devil) The Medallion, and one spot below future BMT legend The Musketeer.
#108 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre, incredibly low. Right around The Spirit, I Frankenstein, and Elektra. For movies whose widest release is greater than 1000 theaters, recent BMT hit Steel is dead last. There are some dire films on this list. It is worth a glance.
Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (31/133): Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.
(Honestly, I’m a bit surprised this is so high. Just considering how often this has been recommended for BMT. I wonder if RT was making fun of Hunter with the “commercial in style” part, since he was a commercial director.)
Poster – Bulletproof Font (B-)
(You may be surprised by that grade, but hear me out. The title font is incredible. Patrick would never be able to spoof that. It’s got a nice blue tone to it. It’s perfectly symmetrical. All good things. The bad? It’s oddly empty and dull. I couldn’t imagine anyone hanging that on their wall cause it’s just too lame. [Patrick Note: I find it simply hilarious that they have “Bulletproof” twice on this poster. It is like they realized Bulletproof Monk sounded dumb and they wished they had just shortened it to Bulletproof, but it was too late.])
Tagline(s) – A power beyond measure requires a protector without equal. (C-)
A monk. A punk. A chick. In a kick-ass flick. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)
(The first one is the poster tagline and it’s… not great. Too long and not clever. Only positive is that it nicely hints at what the story will be about and has a slight rhythm to it. The second one is bonkers insane. Used on a secondary (oddly shaped) poster. Everything about that second poster is hideous.)
Notes – Jaime King broke her finger during filming, but not in any of the stunts – just while walking up the stairs talking on the phone. (coooooooooool)
The actors who portray the monks in the movie are real martial artists from the Sunny Tang Martial Arts Center located in Toronto, Canada.
Heath Ledger considered the role of Kar but turned it down to star in Ned Kelly (2003).