|DVD Last Kung Fu Monk
Genres: Action | Adventure | Comedy
Director: Peng Zhang Li
Writers: Peng Zhang Li, Todd McGorry
Stars: Cindy Carino, Robert Christie, Matt Harlan Cohen
A Shaolin Monk comes to the United States to take care of his deceased brother’s son. He establishes a school with a former student who leads him into trouble with the Russian Mafia.
|Plot Keywords: shaolin, shaolin monk, shaolin temple, orphan, fish out of water|
Release Date: 1 October 2010 (USA)
Budget: $1,500,000 (estimated)
There are few movies that a film lover would rent without first taking into consideration the quality of the acting – Chinese martial arts films are certainly an exception to this rule. This film is a quintessential example of that caveat, turning what initially would be perceived as a poorly scripted, amateur attempt at entertainment into a rather enjoyable two hours of remarkably impressive fight sequences. Even after reading what the movie was about, I'm still not sure the plot ever actually permeates into a logical series of events. And I've seen better acting from college kids with a video camera pretending to have talent. But that's not the reason we choose to rent these kinds of flicks is it? We rent them to have a few hours viewing of ass kicking while enjoying a late night indulgence – and to this extent the movie achieves a most lovable form of quality. What the cast lacks in talent, they make up for in looks; the supporting actresses are gorgeous and the lead actor is in fine shape. The direction and editing is notably horrific. The choreography, on the other hand, is on par with most other movies of its genre. Last Monk of Kung Fu never lives up to the level that Ong Bak set (the plots have considerable correlation) but it does provide a great few hours of action and unintended laughs.
OK, so I only saw about 15 minutes worth of this thing. It falls under the category of B movie making, so you shouldn't expect much other than some halfway decent "kung-fu like" moves. What I wanted to mention was how messed up the young social worker is. We have a young, hot looking girl in New York City who is showing the main character around the city, because, you know, he's visiting from another country. So anyway, he's obviously older, and her brain sort of works so she knows he's a monk. But somehow in the span of about a day, this hot young girl decides to get horny for this older foreign monk and tries to kiss him…….wait stop the picture….what the hell just happened? Are you telling me a hot young girl in NYC can't find one halfway decent boyfriend in a city of 8 million people to spread her legs? She's got to give it up to a visiting foreign older monk? Well that's about the most insulting thing I've ever seen in a movie. Time to leave.
I've seen a lot of decent Kung-fu movies, however this is not one of them. If you are expecting a Jackie Chan kind of martial arts comedy, then this is not for you (even though they do have the outtakes at the end of the film). Where Jackie Chan films are generally quite humorous, the only humor in this film comes from how bad the acting is. The fight scenes are not bad, but the horrific acting cancels them out, such that you end up at the end of the film wishing you had spent the time doing something else. The main actress is quite cute, however the storyline is so far fetched as to be comical. Seriously, do not waste your time with this flick and watch a Jackie Chan movie instead. You'll be glad you did.
In China, Shaolin monks are shown training to fight. Everything is blue. I'm not quite sure what is going on.
Li Long finds himself in New York City, quite confused. We soon learn his brother and sister-in-law were killed and their son Michael needs someone to take care of him.
Social worker Sarah, who is attractive and really nice, has been staying with Michael at his large suburban New Jersey home. But she will have to leave. Li Long doesn't seem quite up to the task, but he is willing to try. Sarah will stay longer because Li Long is not ready, but her bosses won't let her stay indefinitely, even though Michael would really like that.
Li Long seems incompetent in this modern world, leading to some comedy, and he will need to make a living. He meets Dave, a former student, and they decide to start a martial arts school. When the two meet in a restaurant, some bad guys are harassing beautiful waitress Mei and the other staff. Dave confronts them and gets beat up. The otherwise peaceful Li Long can't just let this go, and the bad guys soon learn what he is capable of.
At home, Li Long encounters more bad guys running from the cops. I'll bet they wish they had never come this way. Cusamano is impressed and asks Li Long to teach the other cops a thing or two. One particularly disagreeable cop gets taught a lesson.
Li Long seems very capable as a teacher, and his students, including the restaurant staff, appear to be learning a lot. But the school is losing money. Dave has to deal with mobsters, and they want Li Long to participate in organized fighting. Li Long refuses, but mobsters have a way of getting what they want.
Meanwhile, Sarah has a choice to make: Michael or her job.
And all this time there are flashbacks of Li Long's life in China, including scenes that are supposedly with his brother. One saves the other from danger. More recent scenes are mostly blue and make no sense to me. But the quality of acting is higher than in the United States.
So how will it all turn out? I'll bet you already know.
The fighting is excellent, and probably the main reason to watch. There is, however, some unnecessary blood, and some innocent people get seriously hurt or killed. I should mention that I saw the acclaimed "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" the day before I saw this, but I enjoyed this movie more.
Peng Zhang Li has a pleasant personality but shows little emotion unless he is fighting. As a teacher he is very serious but kind. You have to see the outtakes, though. There he smiles a lot and even laughs. Everyone seemed to be enjoying making this movie.
Kristen Dougherty is so sweet and attractive, I'd like to see more of her and was pleased she had a large role. That's not to say she's a talented actress, but she would make a good office worker. She and her co-star had one of my favorite bloopers at the end.
Michael seemed kind of spoiled but was pleasant enough. His scenes with his uncle entertained.
Cusamano is an acquired taste. He's not automatically likable.
If you like martial arts fights, this is pretty good. If you like relationships too, this movie has that. There are better movies for both.