Review this movie
Sep 4, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. From the start, you know what page you should be on in Jackie Chan vehicle The Medallion. It exists to entertain, not to make any kind of bold spiritual or meaningful statement, even if the plot is grounded in a delightful magical hokum, which may or may not be inspired by certain elements of Chinese mysticism, which I’m sure it takes many liberties with.
Still, in this kind of film, a MacGuffin is required to get the plot moving. The titular Medallion is thousands of years old, and grants the holder a host of powers, including strength, speed and immortality. Naturally, some unscrupulous individuals are bound to want to get their hands on this wondrous item, and indeed they do, making off with both it and its child guardian Jai, who has been chosen by the fates as the only one who can activate the Medallion, by binding its two halves.
Who’s on hand to stop this selfish abuse of ancient power? Hong Kong police officer Eddie Yang, (Jackie Chan). Chan plays his usual role as the dogged nice guy, battling against all the odds, and a seemingly never-ending stream of enemy goons, with only his skill at martial arts to protect him. As ever, it’s impossible to dislike Chan, and you end up along for the ride, and rooting for him every time.
Lee Evans appears as Arthur Watson, a somewhat incompetent Interpol agent who is partnered with Jackie and becomes his comic foil. Throughout Jackie Chan’s extensive filmography, he has been paired with numerous partners, especially in his Hollywood productions that have tended to exploit the “buddy cop” dynamic to its full potential. Lee Evans, for example, is not Owen Wilson, who performs admirably alongside Chan in Shanghai Noon (2000) and its sequel.
Claire Forlani’s character, another agent by the name of Nicole, is an old flame of Eddie/Jackie’s. Regrettably, she is not particularly engaging and there is little chemistry between her and Jackie to give credence to their previous relationship. She seems to fill the obligatory role of the love interest to accompany the primary duo into the finale, but I would have preferred to see this role filled by Charlotte Watson (Christy Chung), Arthur’s wife, who appears during a fight in the Watson household, revealing herself to be an agent too. Pre-dating Mr. & Mrs. Smith by two years, neither Arthur nor Charlotte have filled each other in on their true professions, but when her family is threatened, Charlotte springs into action. For some reason, nothing is made of this after the scene, and the character does not appear again.
Those who grew up watching the animated series Jackie Chan Adventures might enjoy a nostalgia trip when they recognise a familiar sounding villain in the form of Julian Sands, who proves that the stereotype of the well-spoken British villain is still very much alive in his role as the borderline psychotic crime lord known as “Snakehead”. At times, this film can feel like a live action imagining of the aforementioned series, where Sands played Jackie’s nemesis, a similar villain with a penchant for the theft of mystical items.
Gordon Chan directs, as an experienced figure in Hong Kong cinema who has worked with Jackie Chan before. Gordon Chan’s other notable works include remakes of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury (1972): Fist of Legend (1994), starring Jet Li, and Legend of the Fist (2010). As ever, the real star is not the plot or characterisation, but the fight scenes with Jackie, who is well known for performing all of his own stunts, to the point that nobody would insure him. Typically, the director is happy to let Jackie do his thing, whilst the soundtrack plays some pop rock with a groovy bass line. During the finale, Forlani’s fight with her female counterpart in Snakehead’s organisation is set to a rocking blues guitar solo.
In a film about a medallion that gives supernatural powers, the most entertaining fights are the most realistic. These are the ones where Jackie fights a number of thugs in an industrial location. Once in the sewers beneath the streets of Hong Kong, and twice on container ships, in Dublin and Victoria Harbour. Once the characters inevitably become juiced up on the medallion’s powers, the fights seem somehow less impressive. Whilst events become visually more extreme, and the stakes are technically higher, what with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, conflicts between these newly immortal warriors lack the tension of a fierce urban punch-up.
This film, while an hour and a half of entertaining absurdity, does not deserve further analysis, nor does it ask for it. Jackie Chan saves this film, simply by doing what he does best. But it is by no means his best work.… Expand
DannyD.Sep 24, 2005This movie was terrible, absolute tripe. The story was all over the place and action just seemed to come out of nowhere. Its actually a little funny to watch - just to laugh at how bad it is. I'm giving it a 1 just forr the line ' bring me the boy - in dublin'.
NoelT.Sep 6, 2003[***SPOILERS****] I have seen many Jackie Chan movies in my time, this by far was the worst Chan movie...ever. Here are a few gripes I have about this movie. 1) The Character of Arthur Watson (Lee Evans) is a bumbling agent who worked along-side Eddie Yang (Jackie) who is so annoying people actually groaned when he was on screen. 2) The Wife of Arthur Watson does not know that he is a[***SPOILERS****] I have seen many Jackie Chan movies in my time, this by far was the worst Chan movie...ever. Here are a few gripes I have about this movie. 1) The Character of Arthur Watson (Lee Evans) is a bumbling agent who worked along-side Eddie Yang (Jackie) who is so annoying people actually groaned when he was on screen. 2) The Wife of Arthur Watson does not know that he is a secret agent, yet halfway though the movie when the Watson house is attacked his wife has a secret room in her closet that is filled with weapons and riot shield. She gives a shotgun to Watson but she does not need a weapon cause she knows kung fu and proceeds to fight hand to hand against her attackers. Why she is a master of kung fu, and has a secret weapons cache is never explained. 3) We are told when you get both halves of the medallion you are given the gift of immorality. Yet when the bad guy gets both halves he gets trapped inside the medallion. Guess they left that part out. 4) Chan after he is brought back to life has some Jell-O, immediately after eating the Jell-O he runs into the bathroom to throw it up. Can you no longer eat or drink after you are brought back with the medallion? Who knows, the only thing that happens after Chan runs to vomit is Watson smells the Jell-O and they change topics. 5) The fight scenes after Jackie is brought back are horrid at best, they are medium shots with lots of blur, lots of green screen, and lots of shaking the camera. It would have been better if Jackie and the evil guy during each fight scene would simply walk off camera and all you could hear would be sound effects. With such crappy green screen work I would prefer to imagine what kind of battle would be going on. … Expand
AMovieCriticAug 28, 2003This was really a disgrace to Jackie Chan movies. It had no plot, it was way too short, many of the ideas were cut short, the action was hardly worth it, and many of the jokes sucked. Afterall, shortly before the movie's release, a full half hour was cut from the movie. No wonder there are various plot holes, and many of the jokes on the trailers were not in the movie! (the bullet This was really a disgrace to Jackie Chan movies. It had no plot, it was way too short, many of the ideas were cut short, the action was hardly worth it, and many of the jokes sucked. Afterall, shortly before the movie's release, a full half hour was cut from the movie. No wonder there are various plot holes, and many of the jokes on the trailers were not in the movie! (the bullet catching one, to just name one.) The reason I'm not giving it a 0 is because it was Jackie Chan, and he had some cool stunts before he got the Medallion, (and before the wire work took over,) Also, the concept (at the beginning,) was interesting. This was probably the first time Jackie Chan died in a movie. (and obviously the first time he was re-born) But like I said, it really loses it's thrill after he gets the Medallion.… Expand
ChadS.Aug 28, 2003"The Medallion" seems unaware of the creepiness factor that Chan and Forlani are zombies informed by Buddhism. Interestingly, they're not father and daughter. When the ex-lovers finally lock lips, there's a cut, as if to massage the audience into accepting a kiss amongst two culturally disparate people, before returning to a slightly longer take of this first step towards "The Medallion" seems unaware of the creepiness factor that Chan and Forlani are zombies informed by Buddhism. Interestingly, they're not father and daughter. When the ex-lovers finally lock lips, there's a cut, as if to massage the audience into accepting a kiss amongst two culturally disparate people, before returning to a slightly longer take of this first step towards reconciliation. Seemingly aware of certain taboos, Chan and Forlani don't generate the sexual tension that would be prevalent in such a working relationship. Chan is like a eunuch. When his character checks his private parts after being recently dead, it plays like social commentary. There's a second pairing of Chinese and White, and a second unconvincing relationship. Because she's Chinese, this woman doesn't get to be a duped domestic. Of course she can fight and handle a firearm. "The Medallion" becomes less innocuous if you look beyond the time-killers that are the routine action scenes, mediocre acting, and goofy storyline. … Expand
VincentL.Aug 24, 2003Rubbish! Diaster! He always acts as a clown and we should stop watch this guy's film anymore. Waste your time and money although costs you less than ten bucks!
ButtC.Aug 23, 2003This movie was hilarious, the only problem was that the story culd have been great but wasn't.
SanjKAug 22, 2003This movie was pretty bad... It really didn't have much a plot and it wasn't very coherent.. Don't watch it. I'm sure there is much better out there. The last movie i saw from Jackie Chan was Rush Hour 2 and i expected a lot better from this movie.