plot in a nutshell
There is an ancient ring of power...no, wait...tablet...no, scroll.
That's it, a scroll of power, guarded by a special monk. This special
monk goes through a unique training course, under the tutelage of the
previous guardian, until he or she is prepared to be the new
protector. A new guardian is chosen once every 60 years, so the power
of the scroll keeps it's guardian young, healthy and free from serious
injury during those 60 years.
Chow Yun Fat plays the current
monk, while Stiffler, uh, Sean Michael Scott plays the young and tragically
hip replacement. The current monk, who has no name - that's one of the
rules of becoming the guardian, you give up your name - has to prepare
Scott's character to take over, while battling that perennial favorite evil
villain, the psycho Nazi with visions of world domination.
Spoiler Free Thoughts
movie is based on a rather obscure comic book, and if this is the general
story of the comic, it's no wonder it's obscure. The plot is fairly
tired, and we've seen it done many times before by far more capable writers,
directors and actors.
isn't bad as the older monk, but his acting skills are about as honed as
Chuck Norris. Yes, I know, everyone loved him in Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon, but he tries to stretch to some comedy here, and it seems
forced and stilted most of the time. There are moments that work, but
for the most part the chemistry between Fat's monk and the goofy Kar (Sean
Michael Scott's character) never gels.
has a tendency to mug, and flashes of Stifler shine through even here.
He excels at playing stupid teenagers, and he does show the occasional
glimmer of ability here, but it's not enough to carry an otherwise
been-there-done-that chop sockey flick.
editing is as choppy as the fighting moves, and it's fairly apparent that
the film you're seeing isn't really the film they intended. You'll see
several scenes where things don't quite make sense, or people arrive and
leave with little explanation. Plot lines dangle, and watching the
deleted scenes proves what you might expect - the original film was very
much different than this final version. Early preview audiences didn't
react particularly well however, and so cuts where made. While it may
have improved the overall story, it did little for the flow.
movie also highlights one of my pet peeves in current action movies - the
overuse of wire work. When done with subtelety, it can push the edges
of human ability without breaking the laws of reality. It can be used
to make a complicated stunt simpler for actors to perform, and can make
fight scenes interesting and creative.
overused, it ruins your ability to suspend your disbelief. What could
have been a simple case of an extremely well trained fighter doing things
any 'normal' person can't, turns into Peter Pan. "Look at me, I
can fly! I can fly!". While you might be able to accept that the
monk can do some of these things after years of training, it's a little
tougher to buy Kar doing them simply because he 'believes'. Isn't that
what Peter told Wendy, Michael and John?
Rating - Skip It
the end, this is nothing but a tired repeat of an old theme. There's
nothing really new or interesting here, and even the use of Nazi's as the
big bad seems forced and out of place.
Throw in some really silly Forest Gump philosophy, poor writing and even
weaker direction, and you end up with a truly forgettable kung fu film.
Spoiler Laden Thoughts
I really have only one comment about the big surprise (don't worry, it's
not that big of a surprise)...
Just because both of them -
Jade and Kar - were present at all three 'prophesies', that means they are
BOTH the chosen one? Technically, what did Kar do to free the other
monks? Wasn't that all Jade? And really, what did Jade do in the first
battle with Mr. Funktastic, other than send a pipe Kar's way? What a
bummer for every guardian that came before - they didn't get to share the
responsibility (and a lot more) with a hot babe! Talk about your
when you view the cut scenes and alternate ending, you realize just how much
different this final film is than the original. The original certainly
doesn't look any better - if possible, the inclusion of Mr. Funktastic's
crew all the way to the final battle would have proven worse - but it's a
sure sign that the writer and director had little idea what they really were