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The Medallion (PG)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None listed

IT has not been a good year for Jackie Chan movies. The jovial entertainer has misfired spectacularly with the ill-suited The Tuxedo, entertained only moderately in the overlong Shanghai Knights, and now bombs again in The Medallion.

Billed as a film which combines the martial arts prowess of its international action superstar with state-of-the-art special effects, The Medallion is actually an all-too mundane, and frequently quite shabby, affair, that squanders its biggest selling factor.

I said, following the release of The Tuxedo, that using special effects to ‘enhance’ Chan’s fight scenes was a waste of time and spectacle, yet director, Gordon Chan, insists on doing the same, reducing the impact of the sequences, and succeeding only in making his star look too old for much of the mayhem.

A hopelessly miscast support team also do much to hinder proceedings, while the obvious nods to movies such as The Golden Child feel a little lazy, especially as Chan is no Eddie Murphy when it comes to wise-cracking his way through the lulls in proceedings.

The plot finds Chan as Eddie Yang, a typically resolute Hong Kong cop, who suffers a near fatal accident while investigating a case involving a mysterious medallion, but who becomes resurrected with special powers, including the ability to absorb bullets.

Enlisting the help of British Interpol agent and former love-interest, Nicole James (Claire Forlani), as well as the bumbling Watson (Lee Evans), Eddie determines to learn the secret of the medallion, protect the life of the young boy protecting it, and face down the evil Snakehead (Julian Sands), who wants to use its powers to secure world domination.

The Medallion is clearly designed as an action vehicle to appeal to the younger generation, but occasionally feels a little too adult in its depiction of violence. It does manage to conjure the odd smirk, particularly through Chan’s use of self-deprecating humour, but is all too frequently found wanting in just about every department.

There isn’t an action sequence which stands out, or a performance worth noting, making this a tediously long 90 minutes, in which nothing much happens barring one repetitive chase sequence after another.

It has often been said that Chan’s movies are only as good as his co-stars, and, in the case of The Medallion, he has really struck out. Evans is completely miscast as the bumbling Interpol agent, while Forlani appears star-struck most of the time, which gets in the way of any type of performance.

Sands, too, appears bored as the villain of the piece, no doubt attempting to play on his Warlock persona of days gone by, while the secondary baddies hardly seem like worthy adversaries for even an ageing Chan.

And when the out-takes fail to carry their usual verve, you just know you have witnessed a particularly bad movie.

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