Review by Michael Jacobson
Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, John Rhys-Davies
Director: Gordon Chan
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Pan & Scan 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: December 23, 2004
hear of police brutality?!”
either a return to glory for the great Jackie Chan or just a breath of fresh air
by not being as disappointing as his last few film offerings.
As a long time fan, I’ll take either one at this point.
Jackie has gotten older and had to deal with aches and pains from a lifetime of
incomparable stuntwork, it seemed like his recent pictures were little more than
shallow vehicles for a once vital star (even if, as I always say, a slowed-down
Jackie is still heads and shoulders above most action stars at full speed).
He’s had to pick his projects and his action sequences carefully.
Understand that this is a man who’s been injured in every way
conceivable in his career including blowing out his knees, broken ribs, ankles,
and even a life-threatening skull puncture.
If he can’t quite keep up the same pace as he approaches fifty, he
deserves our sober understanding.
The Medallion proves that a Jackie Chan movie can still be made the
Jackie Chan way. Like most of his
best work, this movie is a solid, well paced blend of action and comedy.
Though Jackie may not offer the one big showstopping stunt that accented
the films of his prime, he’s still capable of delivering a steady stream of
smaller, incredibly acrobatic stunts that keep his audience wowed.
For him, it may be child’s play, but for the action stars of Hollywood,
he’s still the master and they’re still the pupils.
feels like a throwback to his earlier movies in style and formula.
For starters, he plays a Hong Kong cop partnered with some Western police
who are, of course, buffoons (something the Asian audiences no doubt enjoy!).
The focus is on his style of fighting, which is still unmatched on the
world’s film stage. He’s gotten
a little away from the use-everything-as-a-prop style that had become clichéd
in his Hollywood offerings…instead, he channels his energy into his
choreography and physical abilities. Old
friend and top Hong Kong action director Sammo Hung coordinated the fights, and
there’s a definite difference between what you see in this movie and what you
see in most Western imitations.
cooler is the fact that Jackie finally gets a western comedy star truly worthy
of his talents. He did good work
opposite the overcharged Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour movies and the
underplaying Owen Wilson in Shanghai Noon, but with Lee Evans (a popular
British comedy actor most known in the states for his turn as the ‘crippled’
pizza delivery guy in There’s Something About Mary), he finds a co-star
of the right energy level. When
these guys share the screen, there’s plenty of laughs to be had.
plot is basic and not that important…a bad guy known as Snakehead (Sands) has
come to Hong Kong in search of an ancient relic and the ‘chosen’ boy who
wields it: a medallion believed to
give immortality and great powers. Inspector
Eddie Yang (Chan) ends up following his trail back to England, which leads him
to two former Interpol partners: Watson
(Evans), who believes his police abilities superior to that of Yang’s, and
Nicole (Forlani), with whom he shared a one-time romantic interlude.
Eddie ends up killed in the line of duty. No,
I haven’t given away the ending…merely the real beginning!
Because the boy and his medallion end up bringing Eddie back to life.
And not only is he alive again, he’s superhuman, with strength and
speed he can’t always quite control!
his newfound abilities are to be put to the test when Snakehead too becomes a
super being. This leads to one of
the film’s showstopping pieces; a high speed footrace across treetops that
looks like Crouching Tiger on speed.
interesting that for the first time, special effects are incorporated into a
Jackie Chan movie, who has always claimed in his career that he WAS the special
effect. There’s wirework a-plenty
here, but used in more exciting, fast and furious ways than ever before, even
the likes of Crouching Tiger or The Matrix. But there’s no sellout here.
Wires may make Jackie fly, but most everything else that makes his
character superhuman is still just Jackie.
action sequences are superb and adrenaline-pumping. The comedy is frequent and hilarious. This may be the most satisfying film Jackie Chan has made in
both of those categories in ten years. The
ending was a little abrupt and anti-climactic, but it doesn’t take away from
all the fun you’ll have getting to it.
sad that the lack of American star power may have kept the box office numbers
down on this one. While Rush
Hour and Shanghai Noon raked in the bucks and coughed up sequels,
this one might not be so lucky, It’s
a shame…this is a great cast and crew that could easily deliver another
maybe my wish for a sequel is only because I want to see Jackie stay in the zone
he found here and not go back to making substandard Hollywood knock-offs that
cash in on his talents while never fully appreciating what he has to offer.
Those who would make that kind of film should watch The Medallion and
see what this great star is still capable of.
is a top-notch anamorphic offering from Columbia Tri Star (a pan & scan
version is included, but avoid it and treat yourself to the full scope of
action). Colors are bright,
plentiful and well rendered and contained, images are sharp, clear and detailed,
and no artifacting was evident to mar the experience in either light or dark
scenes. Terrific job!
5.1 audio is solid and dependable, giving the many action sequences punch and
dynamic range. Rear stage use is
effectively channeled, and the .1 channel adds kick to the big scenes.
extras include 15 deleted scenes, a few trailers, and a decent commentary by the
film’s producer and editor, who discuss the locations, the effects, and
working with the likes of Jackie and Lee.