Jackie Chan seems to be doing nothing but buddy-buddy films nowadays. After Chris Tucker, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Owen Wilson, he’s left the mouthing off to hyperactive comic Lee Evans this time round.
Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) is a Hong Kong detective who has been working with Interpol to bring down úber-criminal Snakehead (Julian Sands). Snakehead (who thinks these names up?) is single-mindedly hunting down a young boy called Jai (Alexander Bao) who is The Chosen One and possessor of a fabled Medallion.
Eddie, with the assistance/hindrance of his Interpol partner Arthur Watson (Lee Evans) follow the evil Snakehead back to his lair in Ireland after he manages to capture Jai.
Eddie manages to rescue Jai from the evil clutches of Snakehead but at the cost of his own life. But this is just the beginning as it transpires that the fabled Medallion actually comes in two pieces and because Jai had given Eddie half, he awakens from the dead as an immortal with supernatural powers (which is nice).
Armed with his new super-powers, Eddie, Arthur and Eddie’s former girlfriend Nicole (Claire Forlani) tackle Snakehead who has managed to acquire the same supernatural powers as Eddie.
Apologies for the lame synopsis for The Medallion but quite frankly it’s a lame plot regardless and no matter how it’s described it will remain very weak. It’s very much in the vein of The Golden Child and at least that film had a few laughs. Unfortunately here the laughs are pretty poor and don’t lift the film at all.
Performances are very poor and the whole cast seem to be sleepwalking their way through the hour and half running time. Jackie Chan doesn’t need all the wire-fu shenanigans and always fares much better without, but even his natural charisma and charm cannot save The Medallion. Lee Evans has a few funny lines (well two actually) and although there is a lot of his trademark exaggerated physical comedy it’s just misplaced here. Julian Sands is the most boring and hammy villain seen on the screen in along time, with no sense of what makes sinister fiend – a real case of using Rent-A-Villain – totally nondescript.
Claire Forlani is gorgeous as always, but her romance with Chan is just too forced and the fact that she was completely smitten by a short man who is twice her age is stretching believability – but if it works for Catherine ‘Oh Michael, I’ll get you a new colostomy bag’ Zeta-Jones and Michael ‘Will someone chew my food for me?’ Douglas, then anything is possible.
The pacing of the film is dreadful to say the least; for example there is an awkward montage of “Twist & Shout” between the cast for no apparent reason halfway through. The special effects are very weak for a film with this budget with some downright tacky CGI effects that look like they were done in a rush. There is the statutory female-on-female catfight with the standard fast editing cut that attempts to make it looks like the protagonists actually know martial arts.
The biggest issue with The Medallion is that Jackie Chan is stuck with the same fault that plagued him in The Tuxedo – he’s saddled with super powers that force him to rely more on special effects than his own brand of wacky Hong Kong stunts. Let’s forget the crap gismos such as robotic evening wear and tacky medallions and let the man jump off tall things whilst kicking the arses of seven stuntmen – now that’s what Jackie Chan does best.
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