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  Medallion, The Funshine Superman
Year: 2003
Director: Gordon Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, John Rhys-Davies, Anthony Wong, Christy Chung, Johann Meyers, Alex Bao, Lau Siu Ming, Diana C. Weng, Chow Pok Fu, Chan Tat-kwong, Mak Wai Cheung, Anthony Carpio, Bruce Khan, Nicholas Tse
Genre: Comedy, Action, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Eddie Yang (Jackie Chan) is a Hong Kong detective who tonight is trying to eat a snack in the street, but finds a dog looking hungrily at his food and is too kindhearted not to offer the pooch the meal. He does buy another for himself, but just as he is about to munch on it he sees one of the men he's been tracking and has to abandon it for his pursuit. He lets the Interpol team he has been working with, led by Arthur Watson (Lee Evans), know that the chase is on, but they have no idea of what they are getting into...

Something to do with a medallion, anyway, although the finer details were somewhat lost when the American co-producers took director Gordon Chan's cut of the movie and had it streamlined, that was, they edited almost half and hour out of it to create the flop you could see today. Even Jackie's most ardent fans had trouble defending this one, which at best looked clunky and at worst looked like an embarrassing mess, doing nobody involved any favours, least of all co-star Evans who would have set his screen career back decades if anybody had bothered to pay this much attention.

While Chan glided through this with his customary charm, those around him were not quite to so lucky as Evans in particular struggled with some terrible lines - a scene where he frets that his colleagues think he's having an affair with Eddie is especially cringe-inducing - and low grade physical shtick which paled in comparison with the business Chan was getting up to. Not that there was much inspiring about that either, as aside from the odd burst of running about the megastar remained curiously muted rather than his usual energetic flinging himself around, giving in to wire work and outright computer graphic effects whenever he could.

The plot saw a strong echo of another flop, the Eddie Murphy vehicle The Golden Child as a little boy with unexplained magical powers holds the medallion of the title, which as is the way with these things is split into two pieces which have to be reunited before they can award immortality to the holder. The main baddie was Snakehead, played by Julian Sands in a phoned in performance, and he sends his henchmen after the boy, which for some reason lands the cast in Ireland for some nice scenery and a castle, but little else as far as contributions to the storyline went. There Eddie meets old flame Nicole (Claire Forlani), who has mixed feelings about him, and Watson, who is not pleased to see him.

A double act with Chan and Evans would not have been such a bad idea - you can see how their styles would intersect, after all - but in practice with this tone deaf material the results were dispiriting, mainly because Evans is saddled with a character who for too much of the time acts like an arsehole, and only redeems himself way beyond the point our tolerance for him has been crushed. Add in a hefty dose of mysticism that is an excuse for shaky special effects rather than anything truly uplifting and you had Eddie transformed into a superhero by the trinket when he saves the boy from drowning but fails to do the same to himself. One sprinkle of magic later and Eddie is reborn and invincible; he can also jump quite high, but that's about it for powers, making you wonder why they bothered with that when not much is different. Add Christy Chung as Watson's stay at home wife who suddenly turns out to be a combat veteran of some description, and you had a film that even in its brief time was all over the place. Music by Adrian Lee.

Aka: Highbinders
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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