It is pretty hard to take a film seriously when it starts with two monks sparing on a bridge and flying around. That whole karate/flying/Chinese wire trick…really…why? But “Bulletproof monk” pulls it off well. For starters, it is the first movie with an explanation of how to walk on air. But mainly the two lead roles are likeable and drive the story forward all the time.
The old guy from Tibet is neither Jackie Chan, nor some martial arts guru. More like a regular guy you might want as a neighbour. The young guy is a New York pick pocket, smart kid but not falling into any easy pidgeon holes either. None of those overdone slow motion stylistic shows action movies on a budget often fall for. If our hero needs to take out ten bad guys, OK, he does some fancy stuff, but he gets on with it.
Plot is the normal thing. We all have to protect some ancient scroll with the secret to ultimate power. Twist is that some Nazi has been chasing it since the second World War. Yeah, we have heard that before too. But it really doesn’t matter, the take is fresh. My kids watched it straight after the Spiderwick Chronicles, same story, protecting a book from evil, but they didn’t mind at all.
The girl in the film is interesting too. While Star Wars fans pine and groan about Rey not getting her own doll, the female lead in this film is cool, sexy, sweet, tough, able and with a nice twist at the end does real equality sort of stuff. In all, a great cast guided by an obviously good team, makes a great job of a mediocre idea.
Family entertainment value, 5 or 6 out of 10