Sony // 2003 // 88 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 10th, 2004
It's whoop ass time!
Hong Kong detective Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan, Rush Hour) is about to have his hands full and his life altered when he comes into contact with an ancient medallion that gives superhuman powers and immortal life to anyone who accepts its powers. The medallion is in safekeeping with a young boy who is the key that unlocks its powers (the boy sits on a carpet in a basement with lit candles around him, but that's a story of another review). When an evil mastermind named Snakehead (Julian Sands, Warlock) steals the medallion for his own sinister purposes (and really, are there any other kind?), Eddie Yang must rescue the small boy and make sure that the powers of the medallion don't fall into the wrong hands. By his side are two Interpol detectives, the beautiful love interest, Nicole (Claire Forlani, Meet Joe Black), and the bumbling Watson (Lee Evans, There's Something About Mary). It will take all of Eddie's fancy footwork -- and a little help from ancient Chinese supernatural magic -- to keep The Medallion safe and sound.
Jackie Chan's movies just get sillier and sillier with each passing effort. In his latest film, The Medallion, Chan is given supernatural powers through a magical trinket. The filmmakers still haven't learned that, like The Tuxedo, Chan doesn't need special effects to inspire awe -- the guy is a walking, talking pyrotechnic effect. And yet I couldn't help but like The Medallion for what it was -- goofy entertainment. Chan is the big draw to a film like this, and without him, it'd be just another straight-to-video title without much going for it. In one scene, a newly reanimated Chan, naked but his privates covered up conspicuously by the director, comically chases Lee Evans around a morgue while his dead body lies on the slab. It's a scene that could only be pulled off by the expertise of a man who knows how to make poke fun at his own image. The rest of the cast doesn't seem to be having quite as much fun -- Claire Forlani plays her Interpol character with such steely-eyed resolve that you'd think she'd been forced onto the movie set. Julian Sands plays the main baddie, Snakehead (note to self: if I'm ever to become a villain, pick a less conspicuous name than "Snakehead"), with all the teeth gnashing he can muster. He makes every single line of dialogue sound as if it's being used to rule the world, which makes me wonder what a villain must be like at 8:00 in the morning ordering coffee at Starbucks ("I will have the double decaf espresso and a fat free brownie...or it will be your life!") The most grating character in the film is played be Lee Evans, who mugs longer and harder than even the most highly recognized graduate of the Barnum and Bailey Clown College. Not one line is delivered without some attempt at comedy, and almost all of them fail. I don't know what director Gordon Chan (Hua xin san jian xia, a personal favorite) was thinking unleashing Evans upon an unsuspecting audience, but it most certainly must have been clouded by heavy doses of bourbon and cocaine. Yet the scenes featuring Chan rebounding off walls and slapping around bad guys more than make up for the inconsistencies in the screenplay. If you're a Jackie Chan fan, this movie will give you a nice little martial arts buzz. For the rest of you, start with his far better American debut Rumble in the Bronx or his American hit Rush Hour.
The Medallion is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. Columbia has done a great job making this transfer top notch. The colors and black levels are all bright and bold without any bleeding in the images. Dirt, grain, and other imperfections are kept at the bare minimum, making for a very attractive transfer. Hey, you may think Chan's movies are a bit flaccid, but this transfer is anything but. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in both English and French. Like the video presentation, this soundtrack is very nice. There are multiple moments where surround sounds and directional effects are present, most notably in any of the bombastic action sequences (especially when Chan and Sands are jumping around in the end fight). Also included on this disc are English and French subtitles.
While not a comprehensive "special edition" by any means, Jackie Chan fans will be happy to see a few extra features included on this disc. Starting off The Medallion is a commentary track by co-executive producer Bill Borden and editor Don Brochu. Both of these men are rather chatty and interesting, each having a lot to say about the film's production, working with Chan, and the special effects. Though I don't know as The Medallion really warranted a full length commentary, it's nice for the fans to get some insight into the movie. Fifteen deleted scenes will give viewers a glimpse at some of the footage that was left on the cutting room floor. Most of these are fairly inconsequential and deserved to be trimmed from the final film. Also included is an alternate ending that isn't quite as good as the final film's conclusion. All of these scenes are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen in rough form. Finally there are theatrical trailers for the films The Medallion, The One, xXx, and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Commentary by the Editor and Co-Executive Producer
* 15 Deleted Scenes / Alternate Ending
* Theatrical Trailers
* Official Site