Soon, Jackie Chan will reach 50. While it's amazing that the actor does the kind of stunts he still does, as the years have passed, his sensibilty about the right material to choose has gotten lost. "The Medallion" takes the same wrong idea as last year's "Tuxedo" and makes another mediocre (although it's not as bad) film. That wrong idea would be to give Chan's character superpowers, allowing the filmmakers to use CGI and other means to add to Chan's otherwise stunning martial arts abilities.
The film opens with Snakehead (Julian Sands) trying to retrieve a mythical medallion and the "chosen" child who holds its supernatural powers. Although his first attempt to kidnap the kid fails due to Eddie Yang (Chan) and his Interpol partner, Arthur Watson (Lee Evans)'s work, it's not long before he succeeds and brings the kid to Dublin.
Soon enough, the two are on their trail, joined by Nicole James (Claire Forlani), a fellow Interpol inspector. Eddie eventually bites the dust in his attempt to save the kid, but the medallion brings him back, only this time with super powers (it took no less than four writers to come up with this). Although the special effects are irritating enough when Chan's physical abiltiies and stunt work can clearly be more impressive, it doesn't help matters that the effects in the film are clearly second-rate. Also adding to the irritation is Lee Evans, as Chan's aggrivated sidekick. Despite the comic's skilled, over-the-top performances in "Mousehunt" and other films, he's clearly straining to come up a laugh here and the result is a grating performance.
Despite the irritating computer effects employed in several sequences, there are still some good moments scattered throughout, such as a chase between Chan and a bad guy through the streets of Dublin. Still, there's nothing interesting about the story, there's no chemistry between Chan and Forlani and the film's attempts at humor (a strange scene where a hippie in a tie-died shirt tells our heroes more information about the medallion is one example - a surreal, random dance sequence another) are worse than any of Chan's recent films, save "The Tuxedo", which I think still stands as his worst effort yet.
VIDEO: "The Medallion" is presented by Columbia/Tristar in both 1.33:1 full-frame and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The anamorphic widescreen transfer is suprisingly good, revealing very few faults. Sharpness and detail remained impressive, as the picture often boasted a striking level of clarity and definition.
Aside from a couple of instances of shimmer and a speck or two, the picture remained free of faults. It was terribly pleasing to see a film presented without a hint of edge enhancement. Compression artifacts were also not in evidence. Colors remained bright, sharply rendered and well-saturated. Overall, great work.
SOUND: "The Medallion" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. This is one of the more aggressive soundtracks I've heard for a Jackie Chan picture. Surrounds are put to use most noticably during the medallion sequences, delivering a few swirling effects to the rear speakers. The surrounds also kick in during the other action sequences, as gunfire, other effects and the near-constant score can be heard in the rears. Audio quality is fine, as effects packed a decent bunch, the score sounded crisp and clear and dialogue remained natural and clean.
EXTRAS: Director and editor commentary, 15 deleted scenes (these scenes may make up the additional footage that played in the overseas cut, which reportedly ran longer) and trailers for "The Medallion" and other Columbia/Tristar titles - "XXX", "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "The One".
Final Thoughts: "Medallion" is not Jackie Chan's worst, but it's still a mediocre effort that doesn't deliver the kind of action Chan is capable of or the sense of fun and adventure present in his better work. Columbia/Tristar's DVD offers excellent video quality, very good audio and a few extras. Chan fans who haven't seen the film should only give it a try as a rental.
The Film **