Plot: What’s it about?
Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) is a dedicated police officer in Hong Kong, who is involved in a case with Interpol agent Nicole James (Claire Forlani). The two have teamed with the inept Watson (Lee Evans) in an attempt to rescue a kidnapped youngster. The boy was taken by Snakehead (Julian Sands), a notorious criminal mastermind. But this is no simple crime, as Snakehead has chosen the child with extreme care, as he believes the boy has the powers to unlock a mythical device that could bring him immense fortunes. Snakehead has his sights set on a medallion, one which holds massive powers and can grant its owner the same level of powers. The trio of special agents stopped the criminal genius once, but the second time, he was able to kidnap the child. As they pushes to bring back the child, Eddie fell to the wayside and lost his life. This is a tragic turn of events, but not the end of his involvement in the case. No, Eddie returns thanks to the medallion’s intense powers and now, he is back and better than ever. He has been given the powers of a Highbinder, an immortal with suerhuman strength, speed, and endurance. But even with his newfound super powers, can Eddie manage to head off Snakehead’s plan?
I don’t expect a cinematic masterpiece when I go to see a movie like The Medallion, but I do want to see some great action and a decent storyline. In truth, the film has some cool special effects and wicked fight scenes, but with a poorly executed storyline, the action scenes don’t pack the same potent punch. I am all for wild action just for the sake of wild action, but star Jackie Chan’s style depends a lot on character, which The Medallion is short on. Yes, the filmmakers make good use of an outlandish premise to make Chan’s fights over the top and fun to watch, but there is no brains behind the brawn here. Chan is a blast to watch as always, but the team of writers behind this picture were unable to earn their keep. A number of solid costars are tossed in, such as Claire Forlani, Lee Evans, John Rhys-Davies, Anthony Wong, Christy Chung, and Julian Sands, but they aren’t given much to work with. Chan isn’t cut loose and without a solid plot to back his character, the storyline just feels like filler between action sequences. I have to admit, I always have fun when I watch one of Chan’s movies, but I hope he takes more care in which movies he signs on with in the future. I can’t recommend this release as a purchase, but if you’re looking for a rental, then perhaps The Medallion would be a good choice.
One of the world’s greatest action stars, Jackie Chan can light up the screen and send audiences to the edge of their seats. But you wouldn’t know it from his recent films, which were made in America with mainstream audiences in mind. The once stunning Chan is reduced to a comedic sidekick in most of his efforts here, but at least in The Medallion, he is the main star and doesn’t have to play second fiddle. But the trend continues, as Chan is misused and not allowed to do what he does best. I know he is getting a little long in the tooth, but he has to have more gas in his tank than this mess. Chan is able to make The Medallion likable, but he needs to be cut loose and allowed to bring his special brand of action to the screen. Yes, he is humorous and charming as always, but he needs better material than this. Even with bad writing, he can make a movie fun to watch, but this is below even his low end standard. Other films with Chan include Drunken Master, Project A, Rumble in the Bronx, The Tuxedo, and Twin Dragons. The cast also includes Claire Forlani (Mallrats, Meet Joe Black), Lee Evans (The Ladies Man, The Fifth Element), and Julian Sands (The Million Dollar Hotel, Naked Lunch).
Video: How does it look?
The Medallion is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a pan & scan edition also included on this disc. This is a brand new movie, so it should come as no surprise that this transfer is excellent. Aside from their recent slew of full frame only disasters, Columbia has been known for their terrific visual transfer work and this release is no exception. The film throws out all sorts of visual tricks to enhance the images, but this transfer never slips and delivers a dynamic, top notch presentation. The colors wander the spectrum from lifeless and dull to bold and vibrant, dependent upon the scene at hand, while black levels remain sharp and flawless throughout. I saw no evidence of compression errors either and aside from some slight grain, I have no complaints with this treatment to mention.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a good one, loaded with dynamic presence and primed to offer one heck of an audio experience. This track features a ton of surround use, from the musical soundtrack to action driven effects to more subtle, but atmospheric presence. Almost every scene has a very immersive texture, very impressive indeed. Of course, the more action leveled scenes provide the most punch, but even more conservative sequences have solid audio, from smaller effects to the music. So you’re always sucked into the mix, which enhances the impact of the flick and that’s always good. No issues with the dialogue either, as vocals are clean and sharp, with no evidence of volume errors I could detect. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary track is included here, in which a producer and editor discuss the film, but I wasn’t at all taken with the session. I think some of the stars would have made a solid listen, but this track is lackluster at best. This disc also includes some deleted scenes, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.