Sunday, October 31

Movie Review: The Bulletproof Monk

Ok Ok, it's not in the theaters. But I gave it to an officemate last Christmas, and he lent it to me Friday. Our family sat down, and as is one of our customs, over the next three nights, we watched pre-bedtime bit by bit. I have found the the carrot implied with "one more minute" (after you're ready for bed) spurs my #2 daughter nicely in smoothing over her task of getting herself ready for bed. Plus, it makes for a good whole-family shared experience.

The BulletProof Monk is based on a (3 issue!) comic book. And as such, has comic book sensibilities with respect to pacing, violence, and story. The transcription to film is quite good. Modern film technology with the special effects/CGI advances of the last 10 years make comic books an ideal medium to plumb for screenplays. Production values are very good, and the three main actors perform very well.

The story synopsis: In remote Tibet we learn that a scroll exists, which grants the reader complete power over the physical universe. A "bulletproof" monk is chosen (by prophecy) to guard it for a 60 year term, during which he doesn't age and has unspecefied invulnerabilites including (perhaps) bullets. An evil SS officer breaks in when Mr Chow (Yun-Fat Chow) just receives the assignment for the next 60 years. Then we cut to the present, a young pickpocket/projectionist (named Car) runs into our monk. They mix and the monk observes Car fulfill the first part of the prophecy. Scenes move along as Car and the monk (nameless) learn more about each other. The SS officer (now very old and infirm) is getting closer. He captures the monk and the scroll. Car (and his paramour) return to rescue the monk. Evil is defeated. Car takes the next cycle.

My take Well after trashing the objectionable "A Shark's Tale", I guess I'll show that all movies made today are not useless. Perhaps it is because the comics books rarely dredge the PC bin for their material. Our hero (Car) has been chosen by prophecy, not by any merit of his own, which resonates with sola gratia of Christian ethics. He also, unlike the previous example, possesses demonstrable ethical fibre of his own. When the monk and Car meet, while both are fleeing from their respective nemesis (cops and SS mercenaries respectively), both halt their flight risking their lives to save that of a young girl caught improbably in train tracks before an onrushing subway train. And Car grows/learns during his adventures. Furthermore, one of the main lessons for Car is that there is more to the universe than what he has been led to believe from his secular schooling. Another interesting message comes in the final denoument with the villain.
The monk lets us know that the reason he hasn't killed the SS officer previously, was not because he couldn't, but because he was hoping the bad guy would repent and seek redemption.