Jackie Chan's latest blunder is The Medallion, another film that fails to capitalize on all that has made his career so good. Filled with lame special effects, terrible editing, bad jokes and a pointless story, there is nothing worthwhile.
Chan stars as a Chinese policeman who travels to Ireland to track down a mysterious child that has been kidnapped by a madman wishing to retrieve the powers of immortality from the medallion which the boy carriers. Chan instead ends up with the power of invincibility and so forth, and goes on to save the day, with the help of a lame sidekick (Lee Evans) and a pointless love interest (Claire Forlani).
It is really quite sad, because I used to get excited about new Jackie Chan movies. This was back in the day when he was doing spectacular stunts and long action sequences, not comedies where half of the time is devoted to either American or British actors. The Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon movies are fun enough, but still lack the action-packed bang of Chan's other movies. Lately, though, he has been really struggling to find an audience, and for good reason: His latest films really suck. The directors fail to give Chan a 20-minute action sequence, are too afraid to give him any real stunts to do, and rely way too much on stylish editing and computer graphics. Traditional Jackie Chan movies are good because they have lots of fighting, lots of funny stuff included in that fighting, and Chan's charm. Nothing in that formula includes special effects, pointless American or British actors or cheesy jokes. The Medallion has only the latter to offer.
The action scenes are all bad. Director Gordon Chan does not allow to Chan work his magic at all; there is very little resemblance to his style. Instead, every action scene is generic and poorly edited, with overblown moves and little comedy. In fact, when the movie is in action mode, it isn't funny at all… At least not intentionally.
The real problems arise when The Medallion sidetracks into non-action sequences. Chan's movies have always struggled in this arena because the dialogue sequences are usually meant to glue together a bunch of fun action scenes. Here, there is an attempt at real character development (which is pathetic, to say the least) and to be funny. The movie slows to an agonizing halt during these scenes, and most of the jokes make it almost unbearable. Lee Evans plays an absurdly idiotic Interpol agent who is involved with just about every bad joke in the entire movie; his character is so annoying that he almost single-handedly ruins this film (not that it really needs his help). Claire Forlani has been able to act in the past, but she seems not to be trying at all here. Chan is still slightly entertaining, though he gets less screen time than usual to work his charm.
To cap everything off, this movie has some of the worst direction and editing ever done. The whole movie seems as though big chunks of storyline were lopped out every few seconds, and when that isn't happening, the camera jumps and shakes as if the director was having seizures just so he could have an excuse for why this movie is so bad. The final fight sequence is especially dreadful to watch; laced with poor special effects and a bunch of other stupid stuff, it is almost insufferable to watch. The screenplay doesn't help matters, either, as many things do not even make the slightest of sense.
The Medallion is a terrible movie that should have gone direct-to-video. Aside from Chan, there was no reason to release it in theaters. Hollywood needs to realize that Chan deserves a respectable movie all to himself where he can have fun and fight without the need of special effects, hokey plots and absurd supporting characters.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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