The Medallion
Starring:
Jackie Chan, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands
Directed By :
Gordon Chan
Grade C

The Medallion is an interesting movie, because it is one of the only Jackie Chan movies I can think of that where he resorts to CGI and wirework to create many of his stunts. Jackie's trademark has always been his amazing stunts, and they were made even more amazing because you knew he did them all himself, often at great personal risk. I've been a Jackie Chan fan for a long time, well before he became popular in the USA, and I hate to admit it, but this is the first of his movies that I just didn't like very much.

The story of The Medallion is a mess, probably due to the fact that there were 5 different screenwriters. People, this is a Jackie Chan movie, it doesn't need a convoluted plot! Anyway, the basic story is that once every 1,000 years, a child will be born who can unite the 2 parts of a sacred medallion, which bestows upon it's owner immortality and superhuman powers. Snakehead (Julian Sands) attempts to steal this medallion in the opening scene, but inspector Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) foils his attempt. Snakehead escapes, and then arranges for the child to be kidnapped instead, bringing the medallion to him. Jackie and Interpol team up to find and stop Snakehead, who has taken the child to Ireland. Long story short (too late!), both Yang and Snakehead end up bestowed with the superpowers, and must fight to the death. Along the way we are introduced to Nicole (Claire Forlani), who was Jackie's flame a few months back, and Watson (Lee Evans), a bumbling Interpol detective.

For the first hour, the movie's stunts are what you'd expect from Jackie Chan; great martial arts, getting over seemingly impossible obstacles and avoiding danger in creative ways. For the first hour, things are great! Then Jackie gets part of the medallion, and the fun (or lack thereof) begins. Once he has the superpowers, the movie begins this strange shift into multiple quick-cuts and CGI scenes, some of which look ridiculously bad. The final showdown between Yang and Snakehead is almost impossible to watch; you can't see three-fourths of what's going on, and when the camera does stop to show you something, it's badly done CGI monsters.

Perhaps this was a favor Jackie Chan owed someone. Maybe he wanted to try and up his "cool" quotient by adding wires and CGI to his films now that other movies use them. Whatever the reason, this is the first Jackie Chan movie I've been disappointed with. It's not completely without merit, as I said the first hour is great stuff. It's just that they could have told the same story without the CGI and wires, and would have been much better. If you're a die-hard Jackie Chan fan, give The Medallion a go; otherwise you might want to wait for the DVD.

- - Darken Rahl

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