The Medallion (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/09/2003

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Average action comedy that skimps on the expected Chan trademarks and relies too heavily on the “comedy stylings” of Lee Evans.

You have to admire Jackie Chan – the man never stops working and he’s still gamely doing all his own stunts, even if it’s just running across a busy street. (Although, as the out-takes reveal, even that has its hazards). The Medallion isn’t really in the league of his more famous franchises (Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon) and it’s clearly aimed at children, judging by the level of humour on display. Unfortunately, your enjoyment of the film will largely depend on just how funny you find Lee Evans.

Lee Evans, Interpol Agent?

Chan plays detective Eddie Yang, an energetic Hong Kong cop who suffers a near-fatal accident while on the trail of a young boy and a mysterious medallion. When he recovers, he finds that the medallion has given him super-powers such as great speed and strength. So, with the aid of Interpol agents Claire Forlani and er…Lee Evans, he sets off in pursuit of the villainous Snakehead (Julian Sands – no laughing at the back there), who’s holding the boy captive.

The Medallion has some good sequences (a chase scene through the streets, for example) but it lacks a classic ‘Jackie Chan Scene’ – let’s face it, his fans really want to see him beat people up using a variety of improbable objects or fall off a building in Comedy Fashion. Instead, several of the fight scenes (directed separately by Sammo Hung) use wire-work, which is odd when we’re used to seeing Jackie fight ‘naturally’.

Jackie is his own inimitable self as always, and it’s amusing that his character is given a ‘relationship backstory’ with Forlani’s character, though one suspects this is just an excuse for her to give him a couple of Comedy Slaps.

Wisdom Clone Ruins Film

The main problem with the film is Lee Evans. As if casting him as a bumbling Interpol agent (and one who’s mysteriously in charge, at that) wasn’t bad enough, the film relies heavily on his Norman Wisdom-inspired brand of face-pulling, double-taking, bumping into things humour. More to the point, the scenes are allowed to go on far too long – for example, a scene involving escalating double entendres between him and Jackie about who should be “on top” is initially funny but killed stone dead when he starts trying to talk himself out of it.

Sadly, the uninspired script neglects to follow up on the only interesting part of the story – when Evans’ Chinese wife suddenly turns out to be a kick-ass fighting machine. (The out-takes hint that this sub-plot may have ended up on the cutting room floor, which is a shame).

The soundtrack doesn’t really help matters either – it definitely underscores the fact that it’s a kid’s film, with ‘farting’ tuba noises accompanying most of Evans’ gags. However, there is one great soundtrack joke – when Forlani and the film’s villainess square off, the soundtrack briefly plays noises of two cats fighting…

In short, this is just about watchable, depending on your Evans Tolerance, but kids will definitely enjoy it more than adults and it’s not on the level of Jackie’s other movies.

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The Medallion (PG)
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Content updated: 21/08/2018 06:40

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