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"The Medallion" Movie Review

Definitely Not a Gold Medal


The Medallion Movie

Jackie Chan and Lee Evans in "The Medallion."

Sony Pictures
Jackie Chan’s bread and butter has always been his otherworldly ability to take any prop, use it as a fighting weapon, and make the subsequent action sequence look like poetry in motion. Chan strays from that tried and true formula in “The Medallion,” a mish-mash of styles and genres that never feels comfortable with itself for more than a scene or two.

What’s always been attractive about watching Chan in action is the lack of artifice involved in selling his fight scenes to audiences. There’s no need for CGI effects, wirework, or stunt doubles when you’ve got Chan. So why are all those tricks necessary in “The Medallion?” Chan’s getting up in age but clearly he’s still able to satisfy his fans without the need for all the choppy editing, speeded up scenes, and other intrusive effects. With “The Medallion,” audiences are left wondering why anyone would want to mess with a winning formula.

The movie takes place in Hong Kong and Ireland, as Hong Kong cop Eddie Yang (Chan) teams up with Interpol to nab a major criminal named Snakehead (Julian Sands). Snakehead’s after a mystical medallion kept by a young boy housed in a Buddhist temple. The medallion has the ability to make men immortal and give them superhuman powers. It can also bring back people from the dead. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of gadget any dastardly villain would want to possess. It’s up to Yang, his dopey Interpol partner Arthur Watson (Lee Evans), and ex-squeeze Nicole James (Claire Forlani) to protect the child (a la Eddie Murphy in “The Golden Child”) and take down Snakehead and his goon squad before they become unstoppable.

“The Medallion” plays in parts as a serious drama, lapsing into slapstick humor occasionally, and then it wanders into the realm of the supernatural. There’s also an unlikely romantic storyline with Claire Forlani playing a lovesick ex-girlfriend of Chan’s. It’s too bad her character was dumbed down from a tough police officer into a giggly high school girl with a crush. When Forlani does get into the action, she’s actually fun to watch. Lee Evans’ performance as Interpol cop Watson is reminiscent of the “Keystone Kops,” and might have worked if the movie had settled on being a slapstick comedy. But it didn’t, so Evans’ character ends up seeming as though he’s working off a totally different script.

“The Medallion” has a lot of strikes against it. The production looks poorly done, the editing is atrocious, and there’s absolutely no continuity to the film. Plot lines go nowhere and characters appear where they shouldn’t, with the end product being just plain and simply a mess. Even Chan’s action sequences can’t save the day. They’re actually pretty hoo-hum compared to any of his previous work. The few action scenes worth cheering pass so quickly they can't make up for the other 80+ minutes of uninspired dialogue and scenes filled with one-dimensional characters.

You’d either have to be hard up for a Jackie Chan fix or have seen everything else at the Cineplex to purchase a ticket and spend time with this disappointing effort.


"The Medallion" was directed by Gordon Chan (full cast and crew list) and is rated PG-13 for action violence and some sexual humor.

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