I love martial arts films. It’s my favorite subset of action films and I’m happy watching anything with good fight choreography. Sadly, The Medallion does not meet those requirements. I want to start off by saying that it’s relatively even worse than I could have imagined. By which I mean, that this is one of the worst martial arts films made in the last couple decades and top contender for Jackie Chan’s worst. This is the only martial arts movie that comes to mind for me that not only is objectively bad but is also something I didn’t like. I am not saying this lightly. I like Bloodsport 4, Kickboxer 3, and every Steven Seagal movie more than this.
The Plot: a detective is charged with the task of finding a special child who dark forces want to eliminate. Sound familiar? It should. It’s the plot from The Golden Child. Add a dash of The Matrix and then you get this James Cameron’s Avatar like rip-off film. Don’t get me wrong, most modern films are rip-offs from other films, but at least put in an effort to make it good.
What’s weird about The Medallion is that it’s like Jackie Chan decided to make a bad Jet Li movie. There is a stylistic difference in the choreography between Li and Chan. While they both use wire work, Li generally uses it a lot more. By wire work I mean the use of practical effects to make actors fly around and jump really high. Li uses this in most of his movies to create some supernatural effects. Chan uses the same things but they are far more subtle and the scenes are a bit more realistic. I’m not saying Li would have done better with this movie but if he was the star in it, that wouldn’t have been a surprise to me at all.
The jokes are quite dated and a bit narrow minded. “Oh no, people will think I’m homosexual because some dude said something that can be construed that way.” Who the hell cares? I sure don’t. No matter what time period you are in, being concerned about that is just plain stupid. It says a lot about our society when someone’s sexual preference, in and of itself, is a source of humor. I’m done soapboxing.
Every interaction between actors in this feels forced and awkward. During the audition process you’d think they would try to match people with the actors they will be on screen with, to see if they worked well together. That didn’t seem to happen here. I think the casting director for The Medallion was done by Leo Davis. I blame him solely for the failures of this movie. I think he learned his lesson from this film, because afterwards he did the casting for The Queen, Hannibal Rising, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which were all good.
Converting this flick to something palatable seems to be a daunting task. I would change the movie entirely by adding a hyphen. The Medal-lion would be an animated film about a talking lion that is competing in the Animal Summer Olympics in India. The lion would be super competitive and annoying, and be voiced by David Spade. He would learn lessons, through various songs performed by other animals in the Gir Forest Wildlife Sanctuary. I would hire all the runner ups from American Idol that aren’t doing anything to sing. The lions mother would be a comic relief voiced by Cloris Leachman. The lion would learn through various events that competition isn’t everything and he would finally ask out the attractive lion that liked him the whole time for no reason voiced by Drew Barrymore. I would want Mandy Patinkin to voice one of the animals that sing only because he has a great singing voice.
Thank you for reading. I would like to thank my buddy Mark for suggesting this review since he had to suffer through it. As always you can leave your comments below or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Just search for Infinitylantern and you’ll find me. I have a pretty long list of suggestions but I will get to all of them eventually.