The Medallion

Take away Jackie Chan's amazing ability to choreograph and perform stunts and he's just another bad actor that does really good martial arts. It's hard to believe that he is pushing 50, especially since he can still climb up walls like they are nothing. However, each additional movie he releases shows that too much Jackie is not necessarily a good thing. The Medallion takes everything that makes Chan (The Tuxedo, Shanghai Knights) and takes it away, leaving a dull film in its wake. Gone are Chan's long fight scenes where he uses everything in sight to defend himself. Added in are CGI and wire stunts, which do make them more spectacular but now everybody knows that while Chan is still doing his own stunts, they are not as "real" as they used to be. Try as hard as he may, Chan is just not a great actor. His talents lie in action, not in drama. Every time he tries the latter, it does not work out well.

Chan is Eddie Yang, a Hong Kong cop working with Interpol officer Arthur Watson (Lee Evans, The Martins, The Ladies Man). Chan's best recent movies succeed partially because of his sidekicks (Jennifer Love Hewitt being a big exception). They even outshine him sometimes, and usually make up for his lack of screen acting charisma. Evans is a flunky here, left to overact in every situation. It's the kind of humor they like over in Asia, but over here looks incredibly stupid and inane (because it is). And STOP DUBBING MOVIES. There is some Chinese spoken between the characters, and director Gordon Chan (Cat and Mouse, Okinawa Rendez-Vous) apparently felt the need to make sure that stupid American audiences didn't strain their minds by reading a few lines. Chan (Gordon) developed the story with Bey Logan (Gen-Y Cops, Gen-X Cops), Alfred Chung (Golden Chicken, Shark Busters), Bennett Joshua Davlin, and Paul Wheeler (The Legacy).

Nothing makes sense here, which is the norm for a Hong Kong movie. There is a medallion that can imbue immortality and super strength if it is fused together. A young boy (Alexander Bao) has the power to join the two pieces together, and Snakehead (Julian Sands, Hotel, Vatel) wants this medallion. He kidnaps the boy, but not before he bestows super strength of Yang. Yang heads to Ireland to rescue the boy, and meets up with his ex, Nicole (Claire Forlani, Northfork, AntiTrust), who also works for Interpol. Somehow, everything manages to converge in the end. It probably made sense to somebody, but the execution is just dumb. And what the heck ever happened to Forlani? At one point, she seemed like the next big thing, then she just disappeared.

Nothing happens for the first hour or so. Then, things move too quickly. But if they moved slower, then the story would probably make even less sense. The fight scenes are a mixed bag. The ingenuity of Chan is gone, but he did hire friend Sammo Hung (Hidden Enforcers, Legend of Tekken), a great martial artist in his own right. Hung adds sheer brutality to Chan's martial arts. Chan moves look a lot more dangerous than they have before. It looks really cool, but is nowhere near what is necessary to make up for this drivel.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG-13 for action violence and some double entendres.

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