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Routine ‘Medallion’

Review: Nothing you haven’t seen before from Chan
/ Source: The Associated Press

Jackie Chan plays an ordinary guy who gets super fighting powers and battles evildoers in “The Tuxedo” ... no, WAIT! ... I mean “The Medallion.” “The Tuxedo” was last year’s Jackie Chan movie in which he played an ordinary guy who gets super fighting powers and battles evildoers. “The Medallion” is the new one - or, I should say, “new” one.

Those who have never seen Chan climb a brick wall, slide through some iron bars and chase people around like he was one of those infected monkeys from “28 Days Later” will marvel at his energy in “The Medallion.”

The movie is full of chases for the sake of chases, but has nothing that actually makes you gasp at his daring or cleverness - except for the credit outtakes, in which we see him fall off a stone ledge and land on some extras posing as tourists (wonder if they thought that clip was funny.)

Most admirers of Chan’s spectacular history as an action-stunt star will mourn the formulaic mess he has mired himself in.

The Hong Kong star is still weak with the English language so other actors have to pick up the wisecrack slack, like Chris Tucker in the “Rush Hour” movies and Owen Wilson in “Shanghai Noon” and “Shanghai Knights.” Here the comic relief is Lee Evans, the British comic who played the faux-handicapped professor in “There’s Something About Mary.” Evans tries hard - too hard, at times - but has nothing but lame gay jokes and bug-eyed double takes to work with.

Chan’s storied fight scenes are routine here, while his co-stars (including Claire Forlani) try to explain the story to each other, such as it is.

Muddled story
A sinister man named Snakehead (Julian Sands) wants to capture a young boy who, with the aid of an ancient talisman can bring people back to life and give them superhuman abilities.

There is some muddled chatter about how the boy needs both halves of the medallion to do the trick, even though he revives Snakehead with only one half. Snakehead, by the way, has kidnapped the boy and committed suicide in front of him. Why the boy doesn’t leave him dead is one of the movie’s great mysteries.

After Chan is killed and revived, he discovers that he can absorb gunshots, stabbings and other abuses, and still survive. The wounds heal themselves (and, interestingly, the accompanying rips in his clothing) with a milky light.

Everyone is shocked by this miraculous phenomenon, but not a single person thinks to ask: “So, uh, what’s it like to die and come back to life?”

Such questions would have made an interesting and funny element to this story, but director Gordon Chan lacks the will or imagination to ask or answer them.