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The Medallion /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jackie Chan, Claire Forlani, Christy Chung, Lee Evans, John Rhys-Davies
Directed by: Gordon Chan
Produced by: Alfred Cheung

Written by: Bey Logan

Distributor: Screen Gems


     So there, my friend Andrew and I were, leaving the local cinema, thinking silently to ourselves about the movie we had just seen. We each push a different door open, and exit the building. Being the big Jackie Chan fan that he is, before viewing it, I assumed Andrew would love The Medallion. When the screening that we had attended was over, I was relatively sure that he enjoyed it, even though I, myself, really didnít think it was anything special. Now standing on the pavement, right in front of the theatre, waiting for my mom to pick us up, we still had yet to engage in a conversation. All of a sudden, I hear a voice blurt out: ďI want to go to Hong Kong and slap Jackie Chan silly.Ē Was it really coming from the mouth of the same guy that Iíve known for two years, who has always eagerly awaited all of the acclaimed kung-fu starís films and worshipped his every move? Yes, indeed, it was. In starring in The Medallion, Chanís career has now sunk to the same low level it had reached when he did the moderately worse Tuxedo. This film does manage to always be fun, but the script is crap; I could write a better movie. I canít think of anyone to credit for the average amount of success that The Medallion does contain. I was definitely entertained when watching it, but not engaged, and certainly never felt exhilarated.

     Before reviewing this movie, I thought a lot about the interests of the average audience. My mind focused on how a standard moviegoer feels about each of the standard parts of a film (in laymanís terms: the beginning, the middle, the climax, and the resolution). Is their final impression of the given movie based on just the climax and the resolution, which they will most vividly and easily remember, or the entire film as a whole? Coming to a conclusion was practically impossible, because I do not consider myself the ďaverage moviegoer,Ē so I thought about my own feelings on the subject. Personally, I believe that a shaky start doesnít affect the overall quality of a film, unless itís particularly awful or distasteful (like that of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I did like, despite its flaws). Unfortunately, The Medallion has one of the most painfully flat beginnings in cinematic history. Even though the last forty-five minutes are engrossing and fun, theyíre not enough to save this dud. I was able to enjoy it, but definitely wasnít satisfied when the credits began to roll; with a few exceptions, itís not even worth going to at five dollar matinee showing, either. The Medallion shouldíve been released directly to video, and is worth a cheap rental or a look when itís playing on HBO.

     Even though heís pretty bad here, I do think that itís unfair that critics are blaming Jackie Chan for using a stunt-man in this one. We can never tell that he has a double doing the hefty work for him in The Medallion (maybe because of the lack of action scenes); it looks like heís doing them himself, as usual. If they hadnít known that Chan wasnít actually doing his own stunt-work, critics wouldnít be complaining. Combining outside knowledge and your actual thoughts on a film is wrong, in most cases.

     I can see why many are criticizing the use of CGI, though. The reason why most kung-fu movies are so charming and likeable is because we know that the fight scenes are actually real (even though, this really, isnít much of a kung-fu movie at all). Chan and his stunt-double are already super-human, and even though computers enhance their abilities, audiences will never be as impressed with The Medallion, as they wouldíve been if all of the kung-fu had been real. CGI is often a splendid tool, but its frequent use in this flick is, in a sense, disgraceful. Itís doesnít do justice to the skill and talent required to master martial arts.

     If youíve got kids, The Medallion makes an okay early bird showing, and an even better rental. Itís a goofy and watchable little popcorn-flick, but not in a million years, would I call it Ďgood.í Wait for the video, VHS and DVD are the ideal formats for this type of movie.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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