Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) is a Hong Kong cop out to stop English gangster
Snakehead (Julian Sands, sleeping through this) from stealing a magical
medallion which promises eternal life to those that acquire it. Out on the case
with his partners Arthur (Lee Evans), and former flame Nicole (Claire Forlani,
"Mallrats"), Yang is killed while protecting a mysterious orphan from the wrath
of Snakehead. Brought back to life with the help of the medallion, and armed
with new supernatural powers, Yang attempts to thwart Snakehead's ultimate goal
of world domination.
"The Medallion" (IMDb listing) is a Jackie Chan picture stuck in between his publicly loathed
American output and his time-honored work in Hong Kong cinema. Reportedly one of
the most expensive films ever produced in Hong Kong, "Medallion" does
surprisingly little with its financial advantages. This is a routine, bloated
Chan film, similar to last fall's "The Tuxedo," though "Medallion" cannot use the excuse of an American distributor making the production falter.
Director Gordon Chan keeps the action out of North America, but the film reeks
of Western excess. Most of the high budget has gone to special effects, which
taints the reason audiences flock to Jackie Chan movies: to see him perform
superhuman moves naturally. The picture is filled with wire-enhanced stunts,
poor screen writing (credited to five, count 'em, five screenwriters), and a cast
that looks to have been encouraged to make it up as they went along. While it
can be argued that there is little subtleness to any Jackie Chan picture,
"Medallion" is a good example of Chan's inability to say no to projects that do
not suit him (this is his 12th film within the last 5 years). This
supernatural comedy doesn't fit his mechanical action set pieces, and director
Chan buries the entire movie in such a flurry of edits and effects that nothing
comes out appealing to the eye or the mind.
Also, not that anybody would expect there to be, but "Medallion" is lacking
serious logic to any plot twist it undertakes. Realized by Hong Kong filmmakers,
yet made for Western audiences, "Medallion" tries to appeal to both sides of the world and ends up pleasing no one.
Beloved English comedian Lee Evans, who absolutely killed in the Farrelly
Brothers' "There's Something About Mary" as pizza-boy Norm, adds much needed
cheerfulness to the feature. While not exactly delivering big laughs, Evans is
successful at bringing a playful tone to the mysticism and Chan antics that
suck the fun out of the film. Evans doesn't get in on the action, but his
jokes match up nicely with Chan's stunts. I was also somewhat amazed to see the
normally dour Claire Forlani try to lighten up with a nice turn as a
lovelorn cop. This is probably the most agreeable she's ever been onscreen.
While Jackie Chan openly trashes his American output like the "Rush Hour"
movies, he willingly sticks himself into homegrown productions that are far
beyond their expiration date. "The Medallion" offers little to those that follow
Chan's career, except bigger headaches and a huge question as to why
Chan continues to squander his talents.
Filmfodder Grade: D+