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飛龍再生 (2003)
The Medallion

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 06/23/2011
Summary: Not good on any level

“The Medallion” isn’t particularly good from any point of view. The action scenes are decent enough even though there is too great a reliance on wire work of the jump to the roof from the ground variety. The comedy heavy lifting (and it does get heavy) is done by Lee Evans as Jackie Chan’s sidekick/foil/rival. His act of officious befuddlement is funny at first but since that is all he brings to the party it gets old quickly. He does have a marvelous comic face. Claire Forlani has a running, unfunny gag in which she slaps Jackie Chan for no particular reason. She is gorgeous—was a face for L’Oreal—and abandoned her not very good Irish brogue very quickly.

Jackie Chan is a charismatic actor with great comic timing (even in comic scenes that simply aren’t funny) and the real screen presence of a true movie star. The action scenes would have been better if there had been fewer of them and they were shorter—once you have scene Jackie Chan wired up and bouncing around you don’t need to see it again. Or at least again and again and again. Julian Sands was wasted as a generic villain, although that is often his fate. He can be brilliant in small roles (“Leaving Las Vegas”) or big roles (“Gothic”) but seems to wind up as he does here with an unmemorable character that is better forgotten. Anthony Wong walked through a role that didn’t deserve that level of interest. Christy Chung was along for the ride as the double secret agent wife of Lee Evans’ character. Alex Bao as Jai accomplished he most important challenge for a child actor: he wasn’t annoying.

The plot is contrived, the writing labored and the characters make cardboard cut-outs seem like the latest in 3-D. It does hurtle along, jumping from an unresolved scene to another that ends before it should, making its 90 minutes seem like no more than an hour and a half.

I can’t think of any reason to recommend “The Medallion”.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 08/30/2008
Summary: Not as bad as you might think

The unholy trinity of star Jackie Chan, director Gordon Chan and action director Sammo Hung return from their less than stellar outing with THUNDERBOLT for this action comedy with a supernatural flavour.

The plot is extremely simple and highly derivative – I’ll just throw the words “chosen one”, “innocent child” and “bestows immortality”, and you can probably join the dots yourself. In this one, Jackie dies about halfway through and is resurrected as a kind of supernatural superman, battling evil in the form of Snakehead (Sands) and his lackeys (which include a dubbed Anthony Wong).

The audience can breath one huge sigh of relief on one front with this film – the acting here is actually quite passable, with only a couple of wooden moments from henchmen spoiling the show. The largely British cast do a thoroughly decent show, and the addition of John Rhys-Davies lends the production an air of class it probably doesn’t deserve. The film is mostly in English (a few lines here and there are dubbed, but reasonably unobtrusively) and this makes the film an even greater achievement.

However, there are some problems. Lee Evans is a funny comedian, and a fairly decent actor, but his character here is completely all over the place. He heads a crack team of Interpol agents trying to bring Snakehead to justice, and his character switches from hard-arsed professional who takes no crap to bumbling British idiot in a matter of seconds – and usually right back again. The character is sometimes so confusing to watch that you hope the old “identical twin” ploy will reveal that there in fact two Lee Evanses. Jackie has a sidekick in the form of Claire Forlani, who gets to show what she’s got to good effect, and thankfully doesn’t let the side down, acting-wise.

The script (which boasts no less than five writers – including Bey Logan) is also a little scatterbrained, and the humour is entirely hit-and-miss. One routine between Evans and Chan has their characters arguing in front of an office full of people. The horribly contrived innuendo-laden dialogue makes the pair appear like a gay couple having a tiff to the onlookers, and the gag is pushed to breaking point...and beyond. The best line in the film is delivered later on by Chan when looking down at his recently deceased mortal body. He is resurrected, immortal, and disbelieves it’s his body on the slab, saying to Evans: “my nose isn’t that big!”

I have a sneaking suspicion that this film was originally quite a bit longer than the 80-odd minutes we’re given here. Evans’s wife, played by Christy Chung, gets almost nothing to do until, with no explanation, she reveals a kick-ass side to her and a knowledge of Evans’s secret life as an Interpol agent. However, seeing her go into barefoot action mode is quite pleasing, so I’m not complaining too much.

The action scenes are split into two styles, with the early scenes supposed to be more realistic while the latter half is more fantastic and stylised. This doesn’t come off too well, however, as the choreography uses wires quite extensively even when Jackie is still a mere mortal. Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t find the film’s use of CGI too intrusive and I thought some of the effects were quite good. Another popular criticism of the film is Jackie’s reliance on wires, which is sadly a reality we must all face these days. The super-Jackie action scenes are typical of the kind we’re used to these days and are not particularly good or bad, but you can see why Chan fans are crying into their hands at the sight of so many wire-assisted moves.

Although the story isn’t up to scratch (these chosen ones are everywhere these days, aren’t they?), and Sands’ well spoken but predictable villain won’t stay long in the memory, I found THE MEDALLION quite enjoyable. It helps to have low expectations these days when it comes to Jackie Chan movies, and if you go in with the right attitude, it’s entirely possibly you’ll enjoy the experience. The end credit out-takes, which come all too quickly, are indicative of Chan’s move away from “real” action as most of them are dialogue fluffs. The best are those between Forlani and Chan, when she gives him a (genuine) slap across the face and then promptly loses her nerve at having hit the star. Chan, ever the good-natured gent, laughs as he chides: “I got hit for nothing!”

The pairing of Chan and Evans is an inspired one, even if it doesn’t turn out the way I imagine it was intended. I still think they could pull off a great double act, but I doubt we’ll see them together on-screen again. Which is a genuine shame.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 09/29/2006
Summary: hmm and err...

well, you look at the film and think; original idea by alfred cheung, directed by gordon chan, action sequences by sammo hung. that's a pretty good start. then you see; starring jackie chan (always a good thing), lee evans (as good an exponent of physical comedy in recent times), anthony wong, christy cheung, julian sands and john rhys-davies. things are looking even better. i'd say, that you were quite entitled to be quite excited at the prospect of watching this. that, however, would absolutely ruin the film for you.

i approached the film, thinking that it would be a little silly, a bit of a mess and generally a big pile of pooh. as a result, i kinda enjoyed it.

sure, the story is a mess, five script writers (including bey logan?) do a good job of spoiling the broth. the fact that thriteen deleted scenes (which, i think, would have added to the film) are included on the dvd, tells you that, in the end, someone must've got nervous and hacked the film to little bits and ended up with an almost presentable series of events, that come in just under ninety minutes.

so, the film tells the story of eddie yang (jackie chan), arthur watson (lee evans) and nicole james (claire forlani); a hong kong cop and two interpol agents, trying to track down snakehead (julian sands), who is some kind of villain. they become embroiled with a young boy, who holds a sacred medallion which has the power to save lives and give people special powers. it's an okay plot, for a children's film, but i'm not sure if that's what the makers wanted...

chan and evans are okay together and forlani doesn't let the side down. anthony wong has been dubbed with a ridiculous voice, or i hope he has. anyhow, apart from the silly use of wires (making all jumps look, kinda supernatural in the worst way) there's a couple of nicely choreographed and executed exchanges, but not many though...

to be watched only if you expect it to be rubbish, yet you think you may find it mildy entertaining.

Reviewed by: Libretio
Date: 10/14/2005
Summary: Tries hard, but lacks invention


Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Super 35)
Sound formats: Dolby Digital / DTS / SDDS

A Hong Kong detective (Jackie Chan) acquires mystical powers after coming into contact with an ancient artifact coveted by a power-hungry billionaire (Julian Sands).

Chan's Hollywood profile took another battering with this half-hearted concoction, directed by Gordon Chan from a multi-authored script which drops the ball in spectacular fashion. Aside from a couple of inventive action scenes - choreographed with smooth efficiency by Sammo Hung - and a climactic showdown between Good and Evil in Sands' island stronghold, the movie is entirely misconceived: Brit comedian Lee Evans (FUNNY BONES) hams it up as a clueless cop, while HK movie stalwart Anthony Wong twitters around the periphery as a bowler-hatted bad guy employed by Sands to retrieve the eponymous medallion. Christy Chung is similarly wasted in an unlikely role as Evans' wife, though Claire Forlani makes an impression as one of Chan's former girlfriends (more unlikely casting!) who helps him solve the case.

Though charismatic and charming as ever, Chan is barely stretched by the material, and his fight scenes betray a disappointing reliance on stunt doubles, wire-work and CGI. Casual viewers may enjoy the film's comical bravado, though hardcore fans will feel cheated by the script's lack of invention.

(English and Cantonese dialogue)

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/04/2005
Summary: I am disappointed.

I had high expectations for this film. I am disappointed. This movie is better than The Tuxedo but not much better. The first few sequences are pretty good but it turns quickly awful with bad CGI, bad gwailo acting from a badly realised script. Anthony Wong is, as always, one of the best things about the film even though he's in one of the dumbest cliche-ridden roles ever. Beautiful Christy Chung steals the film by just being beautiful, too bad she's hardly in it. If you listen very carefully, you can hear Hollywood turning its back on Jackie.

copyright 2004 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 12/05/2003
Summary: I agree with reviewer below me

I totally agree with the reviewer below me. Jackie's movies are getting worst and worst. Lee Evans i did find funny and the woman are just eye candy. The best part of the film is Jackie showing he can climb over and slip through anything he wants!!

There is nothing much else to add but i felt more generous giving this movie


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/18/2003
Summary: Another disappointing Chan movie

Jackie Chan fans have been awaiting a return to greatness for the action star for some time now, and it looked as if The Medallion (called Highbinders during production) might be it. Gordon Chan, the director of such solid action movies as 2000 A.D. was to be at the helm, and the legendary Sammo Hung (Jackie's classmate at opera school and a major star in his own right) would be handling the action co-ordination. Combined with the largest budget ever for a Hong Kong production (US$41 million), The Medallion couldn't miss, right?

Disappointingly, it does. Like many of Jackie Chan's recent productions, it really doesn't feel like a "Jackie Chan movie". The plot has Jackie as a Hong Kong cop who is helping Interpol investigate a smuggler (Julian Sands) who is after a mystical artifact which gives the wearer immortality. After Jackie is killed while trying to save the young priest in charge of protecting the medallion, he comes back to life with supernatural powers, which he uses to stop Sands from getting the powers for himself.

The Medallion does start well, with a couple of good fight/stunt sequences which show that Jackie still has it, at least in small doses. However, once he gets the magical powers, The Medallion degenerates into a CGI mish-mash. For many of the movie's action bits, Jackie is either doubled or tweaked with computer trickery. It's still somewhat entertaining, but it's nowhere close to being as exciting as Chan's classic movies. You literally could have inserted in any "action star" (whatever Hollywood considers that to be nowadays) and gotten the same results.

The script (which, for some reason, it took five people to come up with) doesn't even keep Jackie and the action in the forefront. There's way too much time devoted to the lame "comedy" of Lee Evans (who plays an Interpol agent assigned to help Jackie) or the inconcievable romance between Jackie and Claire Forlani (who plays, you guessed it, an agent who has had a past with Jackie). Supposedly, the film was cut by about twenty minutes prior to release, but I highly doubt that any amount of footage could have helped matters out unless it involved Jackie taking out Ken Lo ala the finale of Drunken Master II.

For how much time is used up in throwaway scenes, we don't even get a good villain. Julian Sands comes off as generic, and Anthony Wong (who plays Sands' henchman) is wasted in a role that doesn't allow him to do anything except look silly in a bowler hat. Even the musical score isn't that great here, seemingly having been pulled from a stock library, rather than specifaclly crafted for the movie itself -- and what the hell is an Avril Lavigne song doing on the soundtrack? Is Jackie's target audience now 14-year-old girls?

Still, even a below-average Jackie Chan movie is better than a lot of stuff that comes out, especially during this summer, which has been horrible for action films. The action is decent, some of the jokes are funny, and Claire Forlani and Christy Chung (who plays Lee Evans' wife -- yeah, right) provide some nice eye candy. But as long as Jackie keeps watering down his name with middle-of-the-road efforts like this and The Tuxedo, I believe his movies are going to suffer down the road. And if the film's dismal opening weekend (US$8 million) is any indication, it looks like Chan's wallet will as well. Let's hope Chan can get back on the horse soon, so we won't be subjected to Rush Hour 5: Rushin' for Social Security.