The Medallion

The Medallion is the stupidest movie of the year. Maybe that’s not the most professional description to use, but that’s the only one that fits. Yes, it’s stupid. When it isn’t stupid it’s weird and when it isn’t weird, well that’s how you know that the movie is over. The large Hawaiian shirt wearing fellow, two rows behind me, described it aptly by shouting over the closing credits, “What the fuck was that?” Good question. What the fuck WAS that Jackie?

In The Medallion, Jackie Chan plays the same character he always plays: A cop. This time he’s named “Eddie” and in Hong Kong hunting down a crime lord named Snakehead… or something. Typical smarmy English type. However, that extra something on the end of my description, is what gets Eddie involved with Interpol, and by extension, beautiful agent Nicole James (Claire Forlani) and her inept associate Watson (Lee Evans). Watson is your designated comedy relief for this movie, feel to begin wishing death upon him in advance.

After some brief character introduction, Snackhead kidnaps a pint sized monk. Then, everyone forgets how to speak English, resulting in a few minutes of really bad dubbing. Weary of parodying old Godzilla movies, Eddie gets a hair cut, buys a new suit, and jets off to Ireland. The rest of the movie is spent chasing after the kidnapped kid, and arguing over who gets to play with his magic, super-power enabling medallion next. Somewhere in there Jackie Chan is forced to re-wear the same suit and his nerdy Interpol sidekick mysteriously produces a flame painted airplane from his garage. Confused? Then you’re just about ready for The Medallion.

I accept and am at peace with the fact that Jackie Chan is always hit and miss. I, unlike most old school Jackie fans embrace and enjoy both his older and his newer, more Americanized work. I am the complete Jackie fan, in awe of his stunt work ability, amazed by the speed of his hands, and speechless in the face of his impeccable timing. In other words, when it comes to Jackie, I can be very forgiving. But even for me… this is pushing it.

There’s just nothing worthwhile in The Medallion. Every single frame of this movie is an unforgivable mess. Every performance, INCLUDING Jackie’s is a disgrace. Every piece of music, every editing choice, every stunt, even the way it is filmed is a perfect example of what not to do when making a movie. The tone of it swings madly back and forth, tripping wildly over pointless scenes, including but not limited to gay jokes in the Interpol back office, dinner with Watson’s family, and then right back to work with a superfluous appearance by John Rhys-Davies as an angry Interpol division chief.

Jackie is showing his age. There’s no denying that he’s looking slow. The fight choreography is botched, and even if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t know since they are all so badly filmed. Would you believe the action was all directed by the legendary Sammo Hung? Everything is done on wires. Everything is all faked. Jackie has stopped doing his own stunts. No he hasn’t been replaced by a stuntman; he just doesn’t do stunts at all. There is no climatic Jackie Chan, super martial arts battle. Instead we have some horribly cgi’d pseudo fight that resolves itself with animated attack dragons leaping out of a man’s chest. No, they do not sing and dance.

Jackie, I remain a huge fan of much of your previous work. I even found something to like in The Tuxedo. Yet, if this is what the future holds for you and your brethren, count me out. At least be aware that you are without a doubt the world’s worst kisser. Claire Forlani has certainly learned that.