The Medallion review by Mike Long

Over the past decade, Jackie Chan's films have grown in popularity here in the U.S., while he has been a star in Asia seemingly forever. But, as Chan's notoriety expands, it appears that his creativity may be waning, as the quality of his films has definitely been declining. Gone are the days of classics like Police Story, instead replaced with true oddities such as The Medallion.

In The Medallion, Snakehead (Julian Sands) is attempting to kidnap a young boy named Jai (Alexander Bao), who is also known as the "Chosen One". According to legend, the boy is in possession of a medallion, which can grant the owner great power and everlasting life. Hong Kong police detective Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan), is assisting Interpol agent Arthur Watson (Lee Evans) in stopping Snakehead. Following a stake-out in Hong Kong, the action then moves to Ireland, where Eddie joins forces with his old flame, agent Nicole James (Claire Forlani) to keep the boy from falling into the wrong hands. But, along the way, Eddie becomes endowed with the medallion's power, and must deal with his new abilities.

If you think that plot synopsis sounds tired, weak, and a little bit like The Golden Child then you'd be right on all counts -- and the truly sad part is that 5 people are credited with writing the movie. It took 5 people to come up with this?! The movie is very predictable and offers no surprises. We learn nothing about any of the characters, save for the fact that Snakehead is, where did that name come from?

The story clearly isn't the only thing in The Medallion which is tired. As he's approaching 50, it's not surprising that Jackie Chan isn't as nimble as he used to be. What is surprising is the amount of wire-work in this film. There were only a handful of stunts where Jackie was doing his usual acrobatics. The rest of the time, it was very obvious that wires were being used. While Jackie is still an amazing athlete, this really takes away from the experience.

Another problem with the film is its overall tone. American audiences either see Chan as an action star, or as a comedian with his Rush Hour films, but few may realize how silly many of his Hong Kong movies are, and The Medallion carries on this tradition. The film dispenses with any attempts at being a serious action film (as some of Chan's films have been) and is made up almost entirely of slap-stick comedy, which would explain the presence of Lee Evans, who seems very out-of-place here. The Medallion is a sad example of the kind of shoddy, cut-rate filmmaking which can come out of Hong Kong, and despite the group of familiar faces in the cast, which also includes The Lord of the Rings vet John Rhys-Davies, this movie is strictly low-rent. (And I'm fairly certain that there are no palm trees in Ireland!)

The Medallion flips onto DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. The DVD contains both the full-frame and widescreen versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.40:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp, but there is some noticeable grain at times, and there are some minor defects from the source material, such as white dots. The colors are good, and the daytime images have great deal of depth. Edge enhancement is visible, but not necessarily distracting. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which provides clear dialogue and music. The action scenes offer some nice surround sound effects, and the occasional use of bass action is impressive as well.

The DVD contains only a few extras. We start with an audio commentary from editor Don Brochu and co-executive producer Bill Borden. The interesting thing about this commentary is that it was done even before the film was ready to be released. Anyway, Brochu and Borden have worked together in the past, and this association makes for a laid-back chat. They speak at length about the making of the film, most notably about the various locations. Next up are 15 deleted scenes (which does include a "Play All" option). Most of these scenes are brief and disposable, but the alternate ending is interesting. Finally, we have the trailer for The Medallion, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1 and enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs.

3 out of 10 Jackasses

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