Five writers contributed to this contrived series of action cliches,
including director Gordon Chan (no relation to Jackie). Can you just hear
the story conference... "Well maybe we should introduce some superhuman
capability. It works for "Xmen." When five writers can't churn out
something more creative for Jackie Chan's acrobatic skills than this hollow
excuse for an action script, it should be buried in turnaround, if not
concrete. Its 15 month delayed release suggest low expectations even from the
Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan), a Hong Kong detective, is brought in by Interpol to
help prevent Snakehead's (Julian Sands) gang from kidnapping Jai (Alexander
Bao), an exotic "chosen one", ala a Panchen Lama, who possesses half the
medallion. The operation goes bad under the impossibly inept leadership of
Interpol agent Arthur Watson (Lee Evans) trying to pull off a bumbling Poirot
ala Brit legend Peter Sellers. But, predictably, Eddie manages to rescue the
boy from the bad guys' clutches, before he (Eddie) is shot and killed.
Obviously, there's no need to worry about losing our lead player.
The chosen one, with his half of the medallion, has powers, and he not only
revives his rescuer, but he provides Eddie with superhuman powers of his own.
But this doesn't prevent the Snakehead from finally capturing the boy and
spiriting him away to his evil lair so that he may join the medallions halves
and gain immortality.
Once Eddie convinces everyone that he is, indeed, still alive, the intrepid
martial arts detective follows the Snakehead's trail to Dublin where he
reunites with agent Watson for an assault on the remote hideaway. The silver
lining is that he is also reunited with old flame Nicole James (Claire
Forlani), a beauty high in the hierarchy of Interpol who kicks ass with the
best of her team. Lucky for Eddie.
When the team finally engages Snakehead in his medieval castle redoubt, the
CGI guys are brought in to wow the customers with an acrobatic contest
between the gravity-defying combatants. It's pretty much video game cartoons
from there on out without much attempt at giving it a lift out of the norm
for the genre.
Be that as it may, there were a number of people in the audience who were
howling at every attempt at humor or death defying destruction, proving that
this motley fare will find plenty of uncritical appreciation.
The performers show routine skill but rise to the physical challenges that
make the cable gymnastics and the CGI stunts come off. Sands, at least,
provides a suitable visualization of a villain reveling in hissable evil.
Chan's acting never comes close to a rescue of the material; Forlani's good
looks dress things up a bit; Lee Evans mugging is too much to take.
In the technical credits, exotic locations are well photographed by Arthur
Wong and the synthesizer music by Adrian Lee is at a stock level in
keeping with the uninventive scenario.
This "Medallion" deserves the doom it will receive in the arena of criticism.
It'll have to treat its judgmental wounds with boxoffice medicine, if there
are enough cartoon lovers who can be enticed for the job.
~~ Jules Brenner