You may define your own banner on the settings page.
FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
Dave Chua
Brandon Wee
Wong Lung Hsiang
Felix Cheong
Foong Ngai Hoe
Adrian Sim
Chris Khoo
O Thiam Chin
Lau Chee Nien
Ambient Noise
Sarhan Rashid
Ying Wuen
Ellery Ngiam
Toh Hai Leong
Toh Hai Leong, Auteur
Wong Kar Wai
The Seduction of Wong Kar Wai
Tsai Ming Liang
Lav Diaz
Mikio Naruse
Leslie Cheung
Jonathan Foo Interview
Chinese Ghosts
Assassins in Asian FIlms
Sex in Asian Cinema
Erotic Cinema of the Shaw Studios
Homosexuality in Chinese Films
My Left Eye Sees Creativity
Hollywood Remakes
Comic Book Superheroes
One League of Social Consciousness
Emerging Trends in East Asian Cinema
Postwar Korean Cinema
Decline of Hong Kong Cinema before 1997
Rise of Afghan Films
Singapore's Mini Cinema
Creating A Singapore Cinema
Why Cinema is Important to Singapore
Singapore Film Industry
Rites of Passage
Replying to Critics
Daniel Yun Interview
Singapore International Film Festival
Bangkok International Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
Writer's Block
All Tomorrow's Parties
And Also the Eclipse
Another Heaven
At Five in the Afternoon
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Bangkok Haunted
Barking Dogs Never Bite
Batang West Side
Battle Royale
Bear Hug
Beautiful Boxer
Beijing Rocks
Bend It Like Beckham
Best of Times
Betelnut Beauty
Big Durian
Big Shot's Funeral
Bird Man Tale
Blissfully Yours
Blue Kite
Bounce Ko Gals
Brighter Summer Day, A
Cafe Lumiere
Cat Returns
Chinese Odyssey 2002
City of Glass
City Sharks
Color of the Truth
Color Blossoms
Confucian Confusion
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dark Water
Destination 9th Heaven
Divine Intervention
Double Vision
Dumlings: 3 Extremes
Enter the Phoenix
Era of Vampire, The
Eye, The
Eye 2, The
Eye 10, The
Fat Choy Spirit
Floating Weeds
Fog of War, The
Formula 17
Full Alert
Ghost in the Shell
God or Dog
Golden Chicken
Golden Chicken 2
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Guru, The
Hana-Bi (Fireworks)
Harold and Kumar
Hidden Blade, The
House of Flying Daggers
House of Fury
House of Sand and Fog
Howl's Moving Castle
I Not Stupid
In the Mood for Love
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs III
Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2
Iron Ladies 2
Isle, The
Jan Dara
Jealousy is My Middle Name
Joint Security Area
Ju-On: The Grudge (2003)
July Rhapsody
Korban Fitnah
Kung Fu Hustle
Lan Yu
Last Life in the Universe
Last Samurai, The
Legend of Zu, The
Liang Po Po
Love Letter
Lucky Number
Marry a Rich Man
Me Thao
Medallion, The
Monrak Transistor
Moveable Feast, A
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
Musa the Warrior
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
My Neighbors The Yamadas
My Sassy Girl
Naked Weapon
Name of a River, The
New Police Story
Nobody Knows
Nobody Knows How to be a Film Critic
One Leg Kicking
Perfect Blue
Phone, The
Ping Pong
Pirated Copy
Princess D
River, The
Road Home
Romance of Book and Sword
Runaway Pistol
S Diary
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
Scent of Green Papaya
Seoul Raiders
Seventeen Years
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai Knights
Shaolin Soccer
Singapore Gaga
Skywalk is Gone
So-Called Friends
So Close
Someone Special
Song of the Stork
Spider Forest
Spirited Away
Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring
Stories About Love
Storm Riders
Summer Holiday
Sumpah Pontianak
Super Size Me
Surprise Party
Swing Girls
Tale of Two Sisters, A
Tears of the Black Tiger
Teenage Textbook Movie
This Charming Girl
Three: Extremes
Tokyo Raiders
Touch, The
Tree, The
Truth or Dare
Twelve Storeys
Twenty-Four Eyes
Twins Effect
Twins Effect 2
Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors
Visitor Q
Volcano High
Warriors of Heaven and Earth
Way Home, The
Welcome Back Mr McDonald
Wesley's Mysterious File
When I Fall In Love With Both
Wishing Stairs
Wolves Cry Under the Moon
Woman is the Future of Man
Women's Private Parts
World Without Thieves, A
Zombie Dog
A Time to Live A Time to Die
e-mail me

   Medallion, The  


The Medallion

Reviewed by Soh Yun-Huei

Director: Gordon Chan
Writing Credits: Alfred Cheung, Bennett Davlin, Gordon Chan, Paul Wheeler, Bey Logan
Cast: Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Christy Chung
Genre: Comedy Action
Country: Hong Kong
Language: English
Year Released: 2003
Runtime: 88 min
Rating: * (out of four stars)

Jackie Chan films used to be characterized by several things – him performing insanely dangerous stunts (and during the end credits we’d usually some footage of Chan being injured in some grave manner), the lack of CGI and wirework, and a goofy sense of comedy that usually involves Chan grinning good-naturedly away. Since his transition to Hollywood, however, we’ve begun to see less and less of Chan’s trademarks in his films. Last year saw the release of the very mediocre The Tuxedo, and Chan follows the trend this year with the even more lackluster The Medallion (originally called Highbinders till a Fengshui master recommended the name change). Maybe it’s Chan’s age, or maybe Hollywood just doesn’t buy into Chan’s trademark movie style, or perhaps it’s just that Chan is just another superstar that’s gone into decline.

The story begins in Hong Kong, where local cop Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) is assisting an Interpol task force, led by the terminally inept Arthur Watson (Lee Evans), with the capture of a crime lord called Snakehead (no, really. Played by Julian Sands). Turns out that Snakehead is after a little boy (Alexander Bao) who seems to be endowed with special powers that can help bind two halves of a medallion together, and when the boy’s powers combine with that of the medallion’s, it can grant any human invincibility and immortality. Eddie and Watson foil Snakehead’s initial attempt, but this doesn’t stop the child from finally being kidnapped and brought to Dublin.

Eddie follows the trail to Ireland, where his old flame and fellow policewoman Nicole James (Claire Forlani) joins Eddie and Watson’s search for the boy. Unfortunately, Eddie dies during the boy’s rescue, but is brought back to life with the aid of the medallion’s power. Now blessed with superhuman powers and an inability to die, Eddie should have no trouble tracking down the bad guys – but when have bad guys ever been that easy to stop?

Action films don’t necessarily need a good plot, but The Medallion’s script, which gives credit to five(!) writers, is particularly poor and riddled with holes. Perhaps part of this is due to editing – the film was cut down from a rumored 120 minutes to a film that’s less than 90 minutes, and there is a distinct lack of flow from scene to scene. For example, an action scene cuts suddenly to an inane dinner, replete with cheesy dance sequence that has almost zero bearing on the film’s plot. The medallion and the boy is also left aside for almost a full reel, whilst the film dawdles in other unimportant aspects. Director Gordon Chan also makes a mess of most of the fight sequences, botching the scenes with too many extreme close ups, overly rapid editing, and an obvious use of wires. Despite the action choreographer being Sammo Hung, almost every fight scene lacks the finesse found in the best of HK action films. Only one action sequence, where Chan gives chase to a thug through the streets of Dublin, manage to showcase Chan’s physical abilities well.

The B-ness of The Medallion is exacerbated by a lack of any good performances in the film. Jackie Chan is still rather charismatic, but Claire Forlani does nothing interesting as the female love interest, and Lee Evans is portrayed to be so inept and so caricatured that his character is impossible to take for real. Even worse, as this is a Hong Kong-USA collaboration, the producers deemed fit to include some HK stars in horribly frivolous cameos – Nicholas Tse and Edison Chan as waiters! Anthony Wong as a hammy henchman! What’s even worse is that these scenes involving the Chinese actors all seem to be filmed in Cantonese, then dubbed over with English, adding another layer of surreal badness to the film. Surely, this can’t be how Jackie Chan envisioned his Hollywood career to be – when the end credits sequence features him flubbing his lines and other "hilarious" outtakes, you know that he has finally gone past his prime.

Final Word: Unexciting, uninvolving, and unfunny, the only thing to thank for is that The Medallion has a mercifully short running time.