The Medallion
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.

Directed by:
Gordon Chan

Robert Englund
Monica Keena
Kelly Rowland
Jason Ritter
James Callahan
Ken Kirzinger
Lochlyn Munro
Joshua Mihal

Written by:
Wes Craven
David S. Goyer
Victor Miller
Damian Shannon
Mark Swift

R - Restricted.
Under 17 requires
parent or adult






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