Meeting the Crazy Eights cast we have: Brent (Frank Whaley) an obnoxious self-obsessed nerd; Beth (Gabrielle Anwar) a troubled freakish girl; Gina (Traci Lords) a sexy carefree bimbo; Jennifer (Dina Meyer) a smart sensible girl; and Wayne (Dan DeLuca) the cool handsome guy who all get together when they receive an invitation to the funeral of an old friend. They were brought together for more nefarious reasons however which are revealed when they unearth a trunk that contains a time capsule of items buried two decades ago. The trunk also contains the body of a girl and it's that girl's spirit that ends up haunting them all. A kind of treasure map in the trunk leads them to a barn which in turn guides them to a tunnel to a creepy abandoned hospital. It's there at the hospital where their collective memories recreate what happened to the little girl and why they were really brought together for this funeral-and future funerals to come. The bottom line to this story is: The past never leaves you. In the 8 Films to Die For series of this year's Horrorfest 2007 Crazy Eights definitely contains the most recognizable cast—and it’s hard to remember a low-budget B horror film with a more noteworthy cast including Whaley (Pulp Fiction) Meyer (the Saw series) Gabrielle Anwar (Body Snatchers) DeLuca (HBO’s The Wire) and former porn star Lords. Sure some of the characters are cookie-cutter stereotypes from a typical horror ensemble piece but Whaley plays the jerk well and Lords is practically good at being typecast. DeLuca is also Crazy Eights producer and co-writer and most likely gave himself as the juicier part. He could become a credible leading man in his own right. DeLuca co-wrote the film with horror veteran James Koya Jones and additional rewrites by Ji-un Kown and Patrick Moses and they may have added a few of the twists and turns in the plot but nothing is outstandingly different. The special effects aren't too elaborate and thankfully most of the goriest death scenes are done just off screen and left more to the imagination. The looming abandoned hospital is used to a great extent and allows for some of the best surprise shocks. It's big creepy and haunting and is practically one of the scariest things in the film. And of course any time there's a ghostly little girl you’ve got some chills. Crazy Eights is a keeper.
Go ahead and throw logic out the window on this one folks. A mysterious Tibetan monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has spent a lifetime protecting an ancient document known as the Scroll of the Ultimate--a parchment that will yield unlimited power to anyone who reads it. After running around the globe for 60 years the Monk knows it's time to hang up his robes and find a new guardian but spotting a successor isn't easy in the hustle bustle of the 21st century where Tibetan traditions and rituals are almost non-existent. Maybe the next protector should be the crafty rebellious pickpocket Kar (Seann William Scott) who learned martial arts from watching kung-fu movies; after all Kar helps the Monk escape from the scroll's most avid pursuer Strucker (Karel Roden) a sadistic old Nazi who wants to use the its power to rid the planet of inferior races. Or maybe the Monk's successor is the elusive but beautiful bad girl Jade (James King) whose skills are numerous and who seems to pop up to help Kar whenever he gets in a jam. Whomever the Monk eventually chooses they must first unite to battle the ultimate enemy--and keep the scroll safe.
If it weren't for Yun-Fat Bulletproof Monk would be pretty hopeless. The charismatic actor finds a nice balance no matter what he does and in this case he resists the obvious temptation to play the Monk as a fish out of water in the big city. Since he's long been one of Chinese cinema's most well-known action heroes he's definitely in his element in Monk standing on top of a car with guns blazing and the Zen master persona he discovered in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon serves him well here too. The script requires him to spout off fortune-cookie mumbo jumbo but he manages to do it without sounding ridiculous. The petite King actually holds her own as the brawny-yet-brainy tough chick but the wisecracking Scott is completely out of his element for the first time in his career. He handles the little comedic tidbits well but in no way is it possible to believe that the "Dude" who couldn't find his car and the jackass who drank someone else's bodily fluids in American Pie can be a martial arts hero who saves the planet. It just isn't going to happen.
Bulletproof Monk relies on the ghosts of movies past including Crouching Tiger and the 1986 Eddie Murphy stinker The Golden Child for its plot which results in a film that's chock full of cliches especially the evil Nazi who has spent 60 years chasing after the scroll using his tow-headed granddaughter whose cover is an organization for human rights to do the dirty work. A few bright moments with Yun-Fat coupled with director Paul Hunter's good use of fast-paced martial arts action make the rest of this unimaginative movie somewhat palatable--even novices Williams and King look good doing the moves--but all in all Bulletproof Monk is shooting blanks.