Odd silly movie
International action star Jackie Chan provides fun and funny action of the sophomoric variety
Jackie Chan built his international action hero status on his insistence that all his spectacular stunts be played out for real. Now pushing 50 and with a catalog of mind-boggling acrobatics (and numerous broken bones), it has finally happened. The Man has finally resorted to wire-fu and computer-generated effects to keep the ball rolling. Not that that is necessarily bad. After all, we don’t want to get the news that the guy got himself killed trying to pull off some death-defying stunt for some silly movie … which The Medallion undeniably is.
Here we have Jackie as a Hong Kong cop hot on the trail of international bad guy Snakehead (Julian Sands). Seems Snakehead has tracked down some little holy kid who wields the titular medallion, which holds the power to grant super-human strength, invincibility and immortality. Jackie foils the first attempt to kidnap the child, and ends up pursuing the villain to Dublin, where he hooks up with ex-girlfriend Claire Forlani and some bumbling Interpol agent (Lee Evans).
For the first half-hour The Medallion creaks along without much action, with an over-reliance on showcasing Evans’ dubious comedic shtick (think lame Rowan Atkinson-aping). The movie is almost intolerable at this point, coming across like some mid-'70s Disney movie with Jackie Chan standing in for Kurt Russell.
Then they kill off Jackie.
Well, sorta. Fortunately, the little holy kid is on hand with the medallion, and next thing you know Jackie is running on the ceiling, impervious to bullets and able to launch himself off like Superman. This is when the film begins to click (but only if you put aside your Chan-fu expectations). The comedy begins to work, the action begins to flow (although of the aforementioned wire-fu variety), and the filmmakers throw in some clever twists. The chemistry between Chan and Forlani surprisingly works, and Evans tones down his routine to merely annoying. As usual, Sands delivers as a loathsome bad guy. The action, while not inspired, is at least diverting, culminating in an Escher-esque climax. The only problem is trying to figure out who the intended niche market is. The Medallion is an odd bird, disjointed in that Hong Kong cinema sort of way, with a sophomoric humor unlikely to appeal to anyone over 10 years old (although there are a couple of genuinely amusing moments). Nonetheless, if seeking a moderately entertaining matinee break, you could do worse.