The Medallion (2003)

Synopsis: Hong Kong detective Eddie Yang (Jackie) is hot on the trail of an international criminal, inexplicably called “Snakehead” (Julian Sand). Thanks to the inept interference of Interpol agent Arthur Watson (Lee Evans), Eddie loses track of SnakeHead in Hong Kong but finds him again in Ireland. In Ireland Eddie reunites with an old girlfriend, Nicole (Claire Forlani), who is now Interpol liason to South East Asia . With the help of Watson and Nicole, Eddie tries to rescue from Snakeheads’s clutches a young Chinese boy who is the keeper of a mysterious Medallion, a magic talisman which bestows supernatural power and immortality, and can only be wielded by the boy.  

Debbie’s Review: After being desperately disappointed by The Tuxedo, I walked into this film with dirt-low expectations, and you know what? I had fun! That’s all I ever ask from Jackie, and he delivered this time. He made me laugh, he made me say “wow!” and he even made me get misty-eyed. I got my money’s worth.  (But that's because I went to the matinee).

Sadly, though, Jackie is once again better than the vehicle the writers have assembled for him. The story, which was re-worked and changed God knows how many times is pretty much a jumbled mess. The outtakes show that there were a great many scenes that ended up being cut from the film. There is no character development at all. I mean NONE. First we jump into a chase in Hong Kong , we have a brief exchange between Eddie and Watson, and them BOOM, we’re in Ireland and they’re having what sounds for all the world like a lover’s spat. Huh? Then BOOM, Nicole marches in and has another lover’s spat with Eddie. Huh? Give us at least a minute of establishing friendship or falling in love, please!  

The wire work was better than I expected, and also worse than I expected. I have mixed feelings about the whole idea. First of all, I thought only Eddie was supposed to have supernatural powers. How come everybody in the whole dang film can fly? And too much CGI was thrown in for no apparent reason, except, Hey! We know how to do cool CGI effects. And look! Now everybody can fly! However, that being said, I thought supernatural powers worked better as an excuse for wires and special effects than a Tuxedo did.  

But I still preferred the fight scenes that came early in the film, before Eddie became a super-guy. He looked like the old Jackie, fast and furious, with no wires, or wires used unobtrusively, and with several of those little trademark moves that make you say “Now THAT was cool!”  

As I said before, Jackie was good. What he lacks in English speaking skills he makes up in charm. Unfortunately, I know he’s a better actor in Cantonese, and I feel like the American public is beginning to think the guy can’t act, which makes me sad. He can do passion, he can do pathos, he can do drama. He just doesn’t do them as well in English.  

Claire Forlani is cute as heck and a very good actress. But for most of the scenes, her relationship with Jackie just doesn’t seem believable. I’d like to blame it on the total lack of character or relationship development, but I’m not sure that’s the whole story. Somehow they just didn’t click for me. Jackie seems profoundly uncomfortable and out of his element in the love scenes. Maybe he just needs practice. Maybe she’s not his type.  Maybe she's WAY TOO YOUNG for him (note to Jackie, being with a leading lady half your age makes you look OLDER, not younger.)

I thought Lee Evans, for the most part, was an irritating idiot. Once more I want to blame this on the script, because I know he’s a funny guy. He was occasionally amusing, don’t get me wrong, but I think the film could have done without his character altogether. I guess it’s another case of the producers, or writers, or whoever, thinking Jackie always has to have a fast-talking partner when he’s filming in English.  

Brilliant character actor John-Rys Davies, he of the resonant baritone voice, was completely wasted in his small role as the Interpol Chief.

Overall, this isn’t a great film. Certainly not up to the standards of Jackie’s older Hong Kong films, not even up to the standards of Shanghai Noon. But it was a pleasant enough 90 minute diversion (which would have even better with another 20 minutes worth of story development). But hey, at least I wasn’t cringing with embarrassment for Jackie this time.  

Score: 6/10

Reader Reviews

KUNG FU SUPERCOP's Review: The medallion was not that bad actually.Its about Jackie chan who meets another british cop and he finds a magic medallion.There are bad guys that try to steal it and they kidnap the boy.The boy has the medallion and the medallion brings people back to life.The fights are very good.Chan also has this girlfreind(The girl from the kevin smith film Mallrats).Its a pretty funny movie but chan can do better. It's not his best movie, he can do way better,he went down.Good movie but I cant belive im actually giving this film a not so good rating but I hope his other films are better.I think they will be.I love the fight scenes but he should go back to perfect mixstures of action comedy and stunts.

Score: 6.9999999/10

???'s Review:  I saw this J.C movie in the theaters. ITs about some medallion that brings people back to life.Nothing great about this movie its just a normal j.c movie but it is not as good as his other 2000s movies. Im not saying its a bad movie its pretty good. Its not jackies best but still watchable

Score:6.5/10 i know its the lowest rating ive given on this site but jackie can do a lot better than this. 

Homer J's Review: When I first heard about this movie I was truly excited - here we had the highest budget ever in a Hong Kong production and intended to be shot in the HK style but with the emphasis on being aimed at audiences both Western and Asian. Later it was announced Columbia who bought the distribution rights were so impressed with what they saw, they intended to spend $35-$40 million on the promotion of the film - as much as the budget of the film itself!! 

A film starring Jackie, directed by the helmer of Fist of Legend, co-starring some fairly high profile names (Lee Evans, Claire Forlani) with action directed by Sammo...... what could go wrong??

As it turns out........ quite a bit.

Warning bells could be heard when Jackie shot this film in the time he had free whilst shooting Tuxedo and preparing for Shanghai Knights. Working on the film in an almost part-time capacity? Didn't sound good. Extensive re-shoots ordered by Columbia? Another warning sign. Announcement that Columbia wanted to scrap the idea of releasing a single international version designed for all and cut it as they saw fit? Oh dear.... Finally, barely a whisper mentioned of this film up until a couple of months prior to release? At this stage I was ready to be disappointed.

So like Debbie I walked into the theatre with low expectations, however unlike Debbie, my expectations were unfortunately easily met. For me this film is in some ways worse than the Tuxedo, the humour isn't particularly crude like that offering but at least the Tuxedo had a novel premise and felt reasonably structured, this film was just a mess.

First off is perhaps the biggest weakness - the script. When a movie requires 5 screenwriters you have to wonder if it is a case of a "too many cooks" scenario. Obviously many films have other credited writers, but between these guys what was created seemed pretty shoddy, there seemed to be so little character development, no tension, barely any drama, yet another implausible love interest and yet another(!) horrendously cliched and dull villain. I don't expect Shakespeare to come leaping out of a Jackie film script but this just seemed so lazy and contrived.

The conflict of film culture and styles is also apparent, an example being the comedy set piece in the police station with the fellow officers becoming confused with Lee Evans sexuality whilst eavesdropping on his conversation with Jackie. The way it was written and performed seemed very much in the vein of one of the "Lucky Stars" films, and whilst that type of humour worked for that series, here it felt weak and forced. It didn't help that Lee Evans (one of the funniest physical performers around whom I love to watch) was about as annoying as you can get. I felt quite upset that he was in this film and yet he barely caused me to smile, (let alone laugh) such was the OTT nature of his performance, however I would imagine this is just as much to do with the unsure direction as anything else.

As mentioned before, we once again have an unconvincing romance - Jackie REALLY doesn't look at all comfortable having a passionate clinch with Claire Forlani and to be honest it showed. Jackie is not, and has never really appeared to be the type (or played the character) to be a sexy, smouldering lover. I really think he would do a great job of playing a weary husband with a wife of similar age, not only for the fact it would look more plausible but I feel he would be more comfortable too. The longer he keeps looking like a sugar daddy when considering the age of his leading ladies, the creepier it gets really......

Of further disappointment was the action which felt underwhelming with the choreography being quite average in my opinion, particularly during the finale (nasty undercranking with the baddie minions and a dull showdown with Julian Sands). The earlier action in the film before Jackie went supernatural was better with a few moments of cool incidental stunts that were reminiscent of the good old days, although even this was tempered by some completely unneccesary (and blindingly obvious wirework - why?!) I would rather Jackie remain on terra firma in his fight scenes at the risk of being slower or less "flashy" than wire assisted stuff, purely because I think it is one of the work ethics that typifies Jackie. Some actors look great on wires and thrive on it, Jackie (I feel) does not.

However, one scene of worthy note was the remarkably touching scene of Jackie's death. So unlike the rest of the film, this scene was both understated and sensitively performed, Jackie being both strong and honourable in the face of death and once again displaying considerable prowess at acting without dialogue (and underwater too!). Truly a memorable scene.

But for me that one scene was as good as it got, what disappoints the most is that this film was aiming to be a synergy of western budget with Hong Kong style, something fans had wanted for some time, particularly in Jackie's case. Given the talent involved I really wonder where the budget went, to me it looked "cheap" and very much like a straight to video movie (much as I hate to say it) rather than the highest budgeted film in Hong Kong movie history. Perhaps I expected too much, but I feel this was another case of "should have been better".

The Medallion was summed up for me in its title - little thought put into it and ultimately rather dull....

Tawsif Zaman's Review: i saw the medallion several times . its really a great movie. i disagree with debbie for one thing, " you think the medallion is only 6/10. but i found much better reviews. the medallion is truly great. it has lots of amazing action & stunts. Jackie chan was in top form. even when jackie chan became a super guy, the special effects were great. it was like i was watching jackie chan adventures. the end fight was truly awesome. i am telling you JC fans , the medallion is no exception. it is a must see movie. much better than the tuxedo, i would highly recommend to anybody who is an action/martial arts fan. two thumps up to this movie. Jackie chan, you rock & you are the best.

Score: 20/10


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