Hong Kong Detective Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) is helping Interpol officer Arthur Watson (Lee Evans) track down a smuggler known as Snakehead (Julian Sands). But when Snakehead’s gang appears at a temple, they seem more interested in a young boy named Jai (Alex Bao) than any of its saleable treasures. When Snakehead sets the temple ablaze, Yang rescues Jai; who it turns out is the Chosen One – the keeper of an ancient medallion with fabled powers. Snakehead is nothing if not persistent though, and kidnaps the Chosen One and spirits him away to Ireland. Yang jumps on the first plane to the Emerald Isle, to re-team with Watson – and with Yang’s ex-lover Nicole James (Claire Forlani).
Review by David Edwards:
OK, so Jackie Chan movies have never been exactly high art; but with The Medallion, sadly he loses the plot altogether. This isn’t just a silly film, it’s an abysmal film. Where Chan was once funny and exciting as he dished out his distinctive brand of chop-socky mixed with self-deprecating humour, now he’s a pale shadow of his former self. The Medallion tries to emulate the patented Chan style, but a really dumb script, a director who’s more interested in special effects, atrocious editing and a less-than-stellar supporting cast make this a dull, if not straight-out painful, experience.
It doesn’t help that Jackie is starting to show his age. Where once he prided himself on doing his own stunts, he patently does not in this film, with CGI gimmickry abounding in the frequent fight sequences. Indeed, director Gordon Chan is far too enamoured of his special effects team, giving us extended and repetitive fight sequences, while ditching whole segments of the story itself, often to puzzling effect. There was clearly at one stage a sub-plot involving Watson and his wife; yet this is revealed only belatedly in – you guessed it – a fight scene. The rest of that particular scenario is obviously on a cutting room floor somewhere.
To make matters worse, the dialogue is appalling and the ending seems like something out of that other stinker, Dungeons and Dragons. Chan tries to retain his endearing charm, but somehow it just gets lost in the muddle of gunshots and high kicks. It’s also a shame to see former “it” girl Claire Forlani and funny man Lee Evans reduced to doing this sort of material. Unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Chan-fan, there’s precious little to recommend The Medallion. For Jackie, I’m afraid, it’s a case of liking his old stuff a whole lot better than his new stuff.
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MEDALLION, THE (M)
CAST: Jackie Chan, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, Lee Evans, John Rhys-Davies
PRODUCER: Alfred Cheung
DIRECTOR: Gordon Chan
SCRIPT: Bennett Joshua Davlin, Alfred Cheung, Gordon Chan, Paul Wheeler, Bey Logan (story by Alfred Cheung)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Arthur Wong
EDITOR: Don Brochu, Ki-hop Chan
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Joseph C. Nemec
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 30, 2003
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