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BULLETPROOF MONK

A noble monk who spends more time kung-fuing than meditating must persuade a cocky young American to shed his selfish ways and devote himself to keeping a sacred scroll out of wicked hands.

CAST: Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott, Jaime King, Karel Roden, Victoria Smurfit, Marcus Jean Pirae, Roger Yuan

DIRECTOR: Paul Hunter

"The picture's a dud. The two buddies at the center of the film --Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott -- don't look like they'd ever hoist a beer together. The material's underlying spiritual values are lampooned, and the fight scenes, for the most part, lack charisma… Pairing Chow, the original ‘Crouching Tiger,’ with the lightweight Scott of ‘American Pie’ and ‘Dude, Where's My Car,’ is a liability. Instead of Chow's gravitas rubbing off on the kid, Scott's dude-ness dilutes Chow's authority." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News

"Director Paul Hunter's melange of mystic religion, martial arts, urban action and Jackie Chan-style shenanigans includes a scene in which Chow's unnamed Monk, facing down a troupe of neo-Nazi gangsters, stands atop a car in downtown Vancouver or Toronto or wherever we're supposed to be, wielding two automatic handguns…It's the closest we get to the edgy, lethal Chow of old, who has finally learned English, but seems to have been decaffeinated in the process… everybody plays to his own weaknesses. Chow isn't a comedian, Scott isn't an action star (still isn't). Director Hunter can't decide if he's making a comedy or an action film and seems to make the wrong decision every time." --John Anderson, Newsday

"The pleasures of this movie are not to be found in the subtlety or persuasiveness of its plot, whose very haphazardness seems like a homage to the cheap, gritty glory days of Hong Kong cinema, when sensation always trumped sense. The lighting is bad, the editing of the action sequences sometimes messy, but these infelicities, curiously enough, increase the fun rather than diminishing it…Whether the weary, patient amusement Mr. Chow registers as he trips over his English lines belongs to the actor or the lama he plays is hardly relevant; his charisma is infinite, and he finds a perfect foil in the slack-jawed, manic Mr. Scott. They seem to be having a very good time, and why should they be the only ones?" --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Chow gets to be charming, presumably his enticement for joining this rickety crusade…He gets to crinkle his eyes and make jokes and extend a hand to youth…It never makes much sense. Okay, you say, it's martial arts, it doesn't have to make sense. Fair enough. But I think the film would have been helped, even within the narrow scope of its ambitions, if instead of the genial Chow, it had starred an authentic martial arts practitioner. And it would have helped if instead of the angularly amusing Scott, the kid role had also gone to someone who knew a kung from a fu." -- Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"It’s a bit late in the game to make a World War II-era Nazi bent on world conquest the villain of a contemporary movie -- even one as relentlessly stupid as ‘Bulletproof Monk’…this is a moronic knockoff of Jackie Chan's buddy/action comedies, directed without much imagination or aspiration by music-video veteran Paul Hunter…Action sequences are on the lazy side, and ‘Bulletproof Monk’ doesn't even make much of an effort to disguise the fact that Toronto is standing in for an unnamed American city." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"A gifted comedic actor, Scott isn't a likely action hero and that's what makes him so watchable. Beefed up and carved out a bit for the role, he clearly enjoys the kung fu posturing, sparking off Chow's stony façade when they share a scene. Even Chow, whose most dramatic English roles haven't given him much room to maneuver as a thespian, manages a few lighter moments — comedy even.... First-time director Paul Hunter delivers a quick-cut, loud movie that betrays his MTV roots — but then again, the script never demands that he do much more than exactly that." --Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune