review by Dan
Lybarger, 22 August 2003
I don't mind having Jackie Chan
repeat himself. There is an undeniable joy about watching him turn
ordinary objects like mantle pieces, fruit and ladders into weapons.
As long as the objects and settings are different with every film,
it's a formula that can be repeated without inducing boredom. The
problem with The Medallion is that it's too much like The
Tuxedo -- an American Jackie movie so wretched that Chan
reportedly slammed it during the press junkets -- and not enough
like Supercop (a.k.a Police Story III), Operation
Condor (a.k.a. Armor of God II) or even Shanghai Noon.
In Chan's better movies, the thrill
of watching them is that he and the stuntmen opponents seem to find
endless ways to punch and dodge each other while the camera rarely
moves. The wow factor came from the fact that Chan and his crew
appeared to be riffing with the principles of physics without the
benefit of optical or digital effects. In many cases, they really
could move like you saw on the screen. In the latest one, though,
age (Chan is nearly fifty) and a "computer generated images can
save everything" attitude negates any excitement.
Chan plays Eddie Yang, a capable
Hong Kong cop who has been teemed with an obnoxiously pedantic
British Interpol Agent named Watson (Lee Evans, There's Something
About Mary). The two are after a mysterious fellow (possibly
because of poor character development) named Snakehead (Julian
Sands), who seems up to no good in Eddie's turf. Snakehead isn't
after conventional contraband. He kidnaps a small boy who carries a
rare medallion that can bring the dead back to life and even give
them supernatural powers. Eddie and Watson manage to trace Snakehead
to his Irish lair and even hook up with Eddie's ex Nicole (Claire
Forlani), who conveniently happens to be another Interpol agent.
Eddie rescues the lad but dies in the process, so now viewers get an
excuse to see Jackie do what he does best.
Except that he really doesn't.
Although Chan's nearly lifelong friend and collaborator Sammo Hung
is credited with directing the fight sequences, the human action is
staged indifferently. One of the more interesting sequences actually
happens before Eddie is resurrected. Chan manages to climb over
fences and subdue an antagonist using trashcans.When Chan is leaping
around before and after his onscreen death, there really
isn't much of a change. As a result, The Medallion gets
monotonous. Even Jim Carrey toned down his manic side for the human
scenes in The Mask. It doesn't help that Chan has an
oil-and-water chemistry with his costars. Evans seems to be acting
(or mugging) his way around Chan instead of with him. Forlani isn't
asked to do much, but at least she looks good in a leather outfit
and credible when she throws punches.
Chan is much more fun with he's
paired with someone like Owen Wilson (the Shanghai movies) or
Michelle Yeoh (Supercop). The former can so likeably goofy
that he becomes Chan's Caucasian brother, and the latter's stern
efficiency complements Chan's clowning nicely. It's best to check
him out in these pairings and just to leave The Medallion hanging.
David S. Goyer
R - Restricted.
Under 17 requires
parent or adult