Film: Bullet Proof Monk

Bulletproof Monk is a 2003 martial arts action-fantasy film starring Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott and Jaime King. The film was directed by Paul Hunter. It is loosely based on the comic book by Michael Avon Oeming.

The film was shot in Toronto, Ontario, and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and other locations that look closely like New York City.

For 60 years a mysterious monk with no name has zigzagged the globe to protect an ancient scroll - a scroll that holds the key to unlimited power. Now the Monk must look for a new scrollkeeper. Kar is an unlikely candidate, a streetwise young man whose only interest is himself. But when he inadvertently saves the Bulletproof Monk from capture, the two become partners in a scheme to save the world from the scroll's most avid pursuer. Packed with spectacular special effects and martial arts action, the Monk, Kar, and a sexy Russian mob princess called Jade must struggle to find, face, and fight the ultimate enemy.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jade's combat skills are appropriate for her status.
  • Anti-Hero: Kar is crude, he's a thief and otherwise not what The Monk was looking for when he set out to find a successor but he still has noble qualities.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Kar meets one after joining the Monk. He has an horrendous attitude and acts like anyone outside his circle is trash.
  • Artifact of Doom: What the Scroll is in the wrong hands; instant genocide!
  • Awesome by Analysis: Kar taught himself how to fight by watching kung-fu movies and mimicking the moves shown there. The Monk spies on him "training" by doing kata with Bruce Lee footage.
  • Battle Couple: Kar and Jade. After they fight each other they fight together.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The granddaughter of a Nazi officer who works to help her grandfather obtain the scroll so that he can commit genocide on a global scale. Her day job is running the Human Rights Organization.
  • Complete Immortality: Scroll Guardians cannot be killed nor will they ever die of old age.
  • Crushing Handshake: One of the monks tries this on Kar, leading to a standoff of sorts.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Monk, anticipating the possibility of The Scroll being stolen, memorized its final line before removing it altogether.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Nina is just as cruel and wicked as the Big Bad.
  • Dark Action Girl: Nina is cruely efficient.
  • Death Seeker: The Monk, though it's more of a "find a successor and retire" thing than a "die in battle" thing.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Jade and Nina's fight with each other but Jade also fights with Kar.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Downplayed. Strucker mentions to Nina after she fails a mission that just because she's her granddaughter that won't save her for long.
  • Evil Cripple: Strucker; when he's old, and thus feeble, he is still a vicious Nazi.
  • Evil Plan: The Big Bad is a Nazi. Naturally, his goal is to use mystical power to commit genocide and become a god.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: The Monk dodges his soon-to-be Odd Couple partner's attacks while eating a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and not spilling a drop.
  • Ghostapo: The film's Big Bad is a former SS officer who wants the Scroll's power for himself.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Bulletproof Monk was originally going to have an R rating, during the switch to a PG-13 rating, one of the characters was renamed Mr. Funktastic from his previously, more offensive moniker. His original name is still noticeable where his necklace has been suspiciously affixed to his chest to cover up his tattoo.
    • The TV edit has old, seasoned police officers calling each other "silly beast" in anger.
  • Humans Are Flawed: The Monk's Order hides the Scroll because humanity as a whole is "not ready" for its power.
  • Humans Are Good: The Monk's Order implies that, in the future, humans might be responsible enough for the Scroll's power, which is why they don't destroy it outright.
  • Immortality Seeker: Part of the reason the Big Bad wants the scroll is to live forever.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • The Monk has this as a Scroll Guardian power, thus the title "Bulletproof Monk".
    • Kar and Jade become this when the scroll is passed to them at the end.
  • Love at First Punch: Kar and Jade; it's described in the movie as Battling for love in the palace of Jade.
  • Mafia Princess: Jade's father is a big name in the criminal underworld. This is significant in regards to the Scroll's prophecy. Because she is a princess, her mansion counts as a palace.
  • No Man of Woman Born: The prophecy sounds specific but there's actually a lot of wiggle room. To be specific, the titular Monk must have completed three rather unlikely tasks:
    • Defeat an army of enemies while a flock of cranes circle above.
      • Kar does this in the opening - Funktastic's gang, under a dozen lifting cranes. So does Jade - by discreetly throwing Kar a weapon and then persuading Funktastic to stand down.
    • Battle for love in the palace of jade.
      • The two have a fight in Jade's mansion.
    • Free brothers he never knew with the family he never had.
      • Both of them rescue monks from Strucker - Kar fights him directly alongside the Nameless Monk, while Jade frees the captives from their bonds. In a deleted scene, all this is done with the help of Funktastic's gang.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Former Scroll Guardians simply look older when they pass the mantel; 50 years older in about 5 seconds.
  • No Name Given: The Monk; part of his guardianship of the Scroll is that he had to give up his identity. Other characters just refer to him as "Monk."
  • Plot Armor: In-universe justification for the Monk; he literally can't die until he finds a successor. Time won't let him.
  • Prophecy Twist: The viewer is early on shown how the prophecy can be interpreted for Kar, but its not until later that it works for Jade at the same time. Then there's the whole 'Chinese prophecy translated into English' issue.
  • Retirony: The guardian of the scroll in the opening hands over the responsibility, declares that after sixty years he is finally going to take a vacation, and is promptly gunned down by Nazis.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Having grown up without a family, Kar decided to give himself one, via his name. The Monk reveals that the Cantonese word for 'family' is actually pronounced 'Gaw'.
  • Warrior Monk: The Monk, and others.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Kar was a good fighter even before he received training from Monk, but he flounders a few times due to trying to copy moves from TV and movies. When Monk trains him, he corrects these misconceptions about martial arts.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Monk's goal and plan is to keep the Scroll from anyone else's hands but whether he succeeds or not (and the Scroll is stolen) is ultimately irrelevant. This is because the final word is missing, thus making the Scroll useless on its own. This failsafe was made because the Monk anticipated the possibility of his failing as a guardian.