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Bulletproof Monk (2003)

Dude, where’s my sacred scroll?

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

UK Certificate: 12a

In one of its many attempts to come across as mystical and worldy-wise, the hit-and-miss comic book adaptation “Bulletproof Monk” crows about “the unity of opposites”. It's clearly a philosophy the bods in the casting department took to heart, given the bizarre pairing of martial arts megastar Chow Yun-Fat and rent-a-goofball Seann William Scott (better known as Stifler from “American Pie” and one of the morons in “Dude, Where's My Car?”).

Chow plays The Monk With No Name, protector of a sacred scroll which, if read aloud, bestows upon its reader full control of the world. A fairly important job then, although our nameless hero seems to take very little time in choosing city centre pick-pocket Kar (Scott) as his successor. So begins an inexplicable hotchpotch of semi-decent fight scenes and semi-funny comedy, as the pair of them strive to keep the scroll from falling into the hands of an all-round baddie called Strucker (Karl Roden). Like all the best bad guys, Strucker's a wheelchair-bound Nazi who lives in an underground lair filled with overly-complicated torture devices.

Chow displays some surprisingly good comic delivery, though Scott looks totally out-of-his-depth whenever asked to do anything more than make sarcastic remarks and occasionally raise an eyebrow. Most of the action is overly-reliant on special effects rather than genuine martial arts, and the fact that we might wonder where this scroll came from in the first place is never even touched upon.

Chow's Hollywood success may come yet, but this isn't it. As for Seann William Scott – it seems he'd be best advised sticking to the teen gross-out stuff.

It's Got: One-time model Jaime "Used to be called James":; King as the lively high-kicking daughter of a Russian mafia mobster.

It Needs: To decide whether or not it’s supposed to be a comedy.


Enjoyable in places, but downright daft in others, with little chemistry between the main players and a hole-filled plot.