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For stateside cinema fans who long for more Fat in their cinematic diets, MGM/UA's release of the breakneck action flick Bulletproof Monk is sure to satisfy. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is rich and vivid, presenting the film's well-planned color scheme to great effect. The notable progression from light to dark through the course of the film lends a truly cinematic feel to the film which translates well to the small screen, with spot-on skin tones and solid blacks rounding out the impressive visual presentation. Likewise, the English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio mix utilizes directional effects well and is clear of any notable hiss or distortion. Composer Eric Serra's grandiose, swelling score more that adequately fills the room while simultaneously providing the mystical backbone of the film. Much touted for its abundance of extra features, this disc does indeed contain an impressive number of goodies, though fans of Hong Kong film legend Chow Yun-Fat will no doubt find disappointment in his exclusion from the two audio commentary tracks. Though director Paul Hunter and producers Charles Roven and Douglas Segal's commentary is technically competent (Hunter comes off as a humble director who was truly dedicated in making the film a rich, character-driven effort), it would have been great to hear Fat discussing his role given that he has been suspiciously absent from commentary tracks on releases from any of his American efforts. The commentary track by writers Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris is also lively and informative, and it's obvious that their understanding of the action genre sprang from a solid background in martial arts films. Deleted scenes and an alternate ending show many comic elements lifted from the final cut of the film (especially Karel Roden's über-hammy performance as an ageing Nazi determined to regain the vitality of youth), and insightful commentary from editor Robert K. Lambert discusses in detail why the scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Featurettes included on this release of Bulletproof Monk offer a comprehensive look at nearly every aspect of the production. "The Tao of Monk" consists of five behind-the-scenes featurettes that discuss in detail everything from the choreography to the character and story arcs to the visual design of the film and the sometimes-subtle special effects. Likewise, the humorously titled "The Monk Unrobed" featurette takes an interesting look at the translation of the film from the comic-book to the big screen, and it's interesting to hear just how the filmmakers decided to flesh out a character who, in the comic series, remained a seldom seen mystical figure. Overall a more than commendable presentation of a film that, while it may not have struck box-office gold, rarely fails to entertain less-demanding action fans.
Deleted scenes commentary by editor Robert K. Lambert
Alternate ending commentary by Robert K. Lambert
"The Tao of Monk": five behind-the-scenes featurettes
"The Monk Unrobed" featurette
Audio commentary by the writers
Audio commentary by director Paul Hunter and producers Charles Roven and Douglas Segal
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Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Good comedy/action flick
Good balance of action and comedy. Chow Yun-Fat and Sean William Scott made a good pair.
This review is from Bulletproof Monk [Blu-ray]