Time for true confessions. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Jackie Chan fan. His
latest, THE MEDALLION, is far from his best, but it's fun. In the film's
most exhilarating sequence, Chan, as Hong Kong detective Eddie Yang on
assignment in Ireland, takes a simple chase scene and turns it into pure
magic with a dancer's timing and unbounded energy. Chan always seems to be
secretly channeling Fred Astaire.
"In the fourth month of the year of the snake, a child shall be chosen,"
Julian Sands, as Snakehead, the story's villain, starts off the film by
reading from an old book. The medallion from the film's title is described
by one expert as, "the Holy Grail of Eastern mythology." It holds the power
of life and immortality and is kept by a kid known only as "the Chosen One."
No, it's not Neo.
An Interpol team, led by Arthur Watson (Lee Evans), is hot of the trail of
the infamous Snakehead, but Eddie is supposed to be just along for the ride.
Of course, Interpol will eventually have to ask for his assistance. Claire
Forlani, playing agent Nicole James, is Chan's female sidekick. I had
trouble with Evans' brand of slapstick, but I eventually warmed up to him.
Forlani is a beautiful actress with a limited acting range who again does
her best, which isn't much.
The plot has Eddie developing superhuman powers and the ability to heal
instantly from any wound. Clearly written for Chan's inherent and loveable
vulnerability, the script has Eddie experiencing the intense pain of fatal
injury, even if not the usual terminal results. Eddie is so strong that he
accidentally rips off car doors when he is just trying to open them. The
movie is no laughfest, but there are several satisfactorily funny moments.
And, as per usual, the movie's outtakes outshine the film itself. In fact,
it is only in the outtakes that Chan and Forlani demonstrate real chemistry
because they stop acting and just start hamming it up together.
THE MEDALLION runs 1:30. The film is rated PG-13 for "action violence and
some sexual humor" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave the film ***. He said that it started slow and
had trouble pulling in its audience but that, once it got going, it provided
good laughs and had an interesting story. Like me, he always loves Jackie
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes