Critics and fans alike have been fairly ruthless in recent years in giving Jackie Chan's Hollywood movies a real drubbing. I'll admit that the last film I saw of his, THE TUXEDO, was a two-star effort with poor casting and choppy action sequences. Thankfully, THE MEDALLION, another film which has been pretty much panned across the globe, comes across as something of a revelation. For a start, it's a quite good movie, much like Jackie's '80s efforts, with plenty of humour and action to keep the audience from noticing the thinness of the plot. Thanks to some particularly good international casting as well as interesting locations – when was the last time we had an action film set in Dublin? Never! – this is a mildly entertaining effort, low brow but crowd-pleasing with it.
The story is as thin as they come and former stuntman Bey Logan even had a hand in creating it (Logan is the guy who does all the DVD commentary tracks on martial arts movies). It involves a medallion which makes the wearer become immortal – so this is basically the film where Jackie gets to be superman. Unfortunately the CGI effects to show the magical nature of the talisman are very poor, but they do fit in with the film's comic-book style. Jackie, although starting to look like a piece of crumpled parchment, is very good here in the comedy stakes and, although his once famous stunt work is replaced by wire work and computer enhancements, he still cuts it as the clumsy but lovable hero. Jackie's opponent this time around is Julian Sands, an actor who doesn't seem to have aged much recently; Sands is wasted and doesn't even get to overact much, but its still good to see him on cinema screens again after so long.
The film is action-packed from beginning to end. There are a handful of fun martial arts battles and plenty of stunts, even if they aren't the most realistic on offer. Jackie's fall from a high building is a hilarious moment and the chase through the streets of Dublin is great to watch as well. Primarily, though, this is a comedy, which sees Lee Evans being cast as Jackie's partner. Evans is a delight to watch here, despite what others may have to say. Utilising the old-fashioned slapstick kind of humour, he plays a clichéd, stuffy, stereotyped British upper-crust character with non-stop pranks, pratfalls, and gurning, and I was actively looking forward to him appearing in each scene. He's ace and his natural, non gross-out gentle comedy is a real delight.
The supporting cast includes veteran Chinese bad guy Anthony Wong as a suit in a bowler hat, reminding me more of Charlie Chan than anybody else. John Rhys-Davies shows up in a minor supporting role – the likes of which he used to do in the '80s/'90s all the time - but is wasted as usual. The love interest is played by Claire Forlani who is easily more attractive than Jennifer Love Hewitt – a natural beauty, her presence is delightful every time she shows up. Generally, that's all I have to say, except for older non-critical fans to check this out, as it's a return to the old days for Jackie and a film which leaves me actively looking forward to his next.