April 16, 2003
Cinema Law 2002: If it's ever been a comic book, there is a decent chance it will wind up becoming a movie. Okay, that statement is a bit cheeky for a synopsis of a film that was shot well before Spider-Man exploded into theaters last May, but it's still fair to say that in the post-X-Men movie marketplace, all comic books are fair game for movies and Bulletproof Monk is a welcome production created thanks to this trend.
It's the latest producing gig of long-time cohorts John Woo and Terence Chang and their fourth North American effort, following The Big Hit, The Replacement Killers, and Windtalkers, none of which has exactly been a blockbuster. Woo will not be behind the camera for this effort. Instead, noted commercial and music video director Paul Hunter will make his debut with this buddy flick starring Chow Yun-Fat as the title character, an immortal martial artist, and Seann William "Please stop calling me Stifler" Scott as a tough city kid inadvertently drawn into the monk's mysterious quest. Along the way they meet a character semi-facetiously named Bad Girl, who is played by hottie-of-the-moment James King (co-star of Pearl Harbor and many of your erotic fantasies).
The three unlikely comrades-in-arms must protect an ancient scroll which holds the key to unlocking awesome power from falling into the hands of an evil kung fu master who would use the mystical forces to enslave and rule the world. Bulletproof Monk is not going to break any new ground in the area of storyline. Obviously what it intends to do instead is be a fun martial arts adventure flick the likes of which North America hasn't seen since the days of Jack Burton. Variety reports the budget as $55 million, so it will also have a fairly decent amount of special effects strengthening the action talents of Chow Yun-Fat, who will be making his first return to theaters since his tear-jerking performance as Li Mu Bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Coming off of the most successful subtitled film of all time, it certainly would appear that Chow Yun-Fat is primed and ready to break out as a North American action star to the same degree he has reached in the Eastern Hemisphere. That alone would make Bulletproof Monk worth tracking, but the presence of rising stars King and Scott, the latter of which will also star in another action/buddy flick with another would-be action hero, The Rock. This could easily wind up being as forgettable as The Big Hit, but it could also wind up being a surprisingly strong release for MGM if handled with a light touch. (David Mumpower/BOP)
Comparison films for Bulletproof Monk
|American Pie 2
|Dude, Where's My Car?
|Big Hit, The
|Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
|Anna and the King