The Medallion Movie Review

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Stop me if you've heard this one before. In The Medallion, flailing fighter Jackie Chan plays a police officer (surprise!) who botches an important case (surprise!) and must team with an irascible Yank (surprise!) to set things straight. The plot has something to do with a mystical two-piece amulet that's guarded by a young boy but gives the powers of flight, invulnerability, and more to whomever holds either of the trinket's halves.

Don't ask too many questions, though, because Medallion doesn't have the answers. How does the glorified hood ornament provide these miraculous powers? And why does this boy have it in the first place? Clunky, tired, and totally illogical, the screenplay can't hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny.

Even if the plot made a lick of sense - which it doesn't - director Gordon Chan's cutesy approach would sink this ship before it leaves port. An accomplished moviemaker overseas, Chan highlights his action with a bouncy soundtrack and assortment of cartoonish sound effects that elicit more guffaws than gasps. For instance, a cat's meow can actually be heard right before two women duke it out. Finally, Medallion boasts the year's cheapest special effects. Middle-schoolers are crafting more elaborate CGI graphics on their home PCs.

You're still reading? Boy, talk about gluttons for punishment. Okay, there's more. Medallion borrows most of its choreography from old Three Stooges routines, and still moves much slower than expected. The exaggerated performances actually border on spoof. Chan's partner, cheeky Brit Lee Evans, hams up each line so they ooze with honey glaze. And love interest Claire Forlani fits this equation like mayonnaise on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Continuity errors litter the film like landmines on a battlefield. Minutes after we learn Chan can move faster than a speeding bullet, he uses a motorcycle to race to the scene of a crime. Wouldn't it be faster to run? And Evans, who spends most of the movie cowering at the hint of conflict, finds the strength to defeat six men at once in a hospital fight, but goes right back to the land of Melba milquetoast two scenes later.

Here's the ultimate head-scratcher. Medallion wastes time weaving a very strange gay subtext between partners Chan and Evans that surfaces whenever the production requires a terribly insensitive jolt of humor. One bungled interaction between the detectives that has them using dialogue mistaken for homosexual foreplay stands out for the sole reason that it was done before - and better - in last month's Bad Boys II. And that movie didn't do anything better.

Chan may be killing time between Rush Hour sequels, but he can do better than this. Medallion is so excruciatingly nonsensical, a nine-year-old sitting beside me watched Chan scale a wall en route to Forlani's apartment, and asked to no one in particular, "Why doesn't he just take the stairs?" A good question, and one that goes unanswered. You have to love those budding film critics. Get that kid a syndicated column.

Have you seen this filmmaker? He's wanted for murder.

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The Medallion Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: PG-13, 2003

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