When it comes to Kung Fu films, there is One Law, and only One:
The fights must not suck.Everything else is negotiable. Cringe-inducing dialogue? Fine. Plot written by an autistic 7-year-old? No problem. Camera shots, characters and entire scenes stolen from other movies? Sure. Acting that’s beyond “wooden” and well into petrified? Not an issue…as long as the fights don’t suck.
Ladies and gentlemen, Bulletproof Monk has terrible dialogue. A worse plot. Scenes, characters and camera angles ripped off from other films. Acting that would have failed to pass muster in my high school’s drama club…
…and the fight choreography completely, totally sucks.
I could go into some detail about all the ways the movie was annoying, but it’s pointless: a chopsocky film stands or falls on its fight work, and there’s just nothing to see here. There’s a couple of interesting visual ideas (notably a fight on a glass platform that keeps getting smaller as its sub-panels are shattered), but none of them are executed with any grace. Every fight is a jittery, impossible-to-follow mess of jumpcuts: there’s practically not a single shot in any of the fights that’s held long enough to see a single move start and finish, and it’s impossible to tell whether this is just out of directorial incompetance or because they were trying to cover up the fact that none of the lead actors are actually martial artists.
I’m glad Chow Yun Fat is getting paid good money in America, but I really, really wish that someone could come up with better work for him than this crap.