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The Medallion

FOR DIEHARD Jackie Chan fans, this is yet another action comedy that should keep them amused and enthralled for the duration it runs. This Columbia Pictures/ Emperor Multimedia Group film, presented and released by Celebrity Films P. Ltd. has the usual formula — ultimately forgettable, but difficult to dislike. Simply because you are amazed by Chan's energy, his good nature and his obsession for stunts — the more daring they are, the better.

And in "The Medallion" he is good to stray dogs and risks everything to save a child. And this is no ordinary child. "In the fourth month of the Year Of The Snake, a child shall be Chosen" reads Snakehead, the villain (Julian Sands) from an ancient book he recovers from a dusty bookshop. By force one might add. And `The Medallion' shall be given to the Chosen One — as a gift that can give powers over death and mortal strength. It can grant eternal life and can bring the dead back to life.

Of course, Snakehead wants to take the boy and the medallion and hot on his trial is the British Interpol in Hongkong where the scene of action is.

Supposed to help them along in their venture is Eddie Yang, a Hongkong cop who is supposed to just watch as the superior team from England nab Snakehead who obviously has ideas of world domination with the Medallion in his grasp.

But then things don't go well and soon the entire team has to follow Snakehead who has managed to kidnap the boy to Ireland and Eddie finds himself teaming up with an uptight Arthur Watson (Lee Evans).

As in all Chan's films, an unlikely partner usually provides room for humour and fun and its no different here. Also in this partnership is Nicole James (Claire Forlani) a smart and beautiful Interpol agent who once had a brief affair with Eddie. An affair that didn't end well. Romance in a Chan film is never very deep and this angle introduced to create that element, seems most incongruous — she is just too beautiful and he too comical.

What is a change however is that Chan dies. Yes. But then the Medallion and the Zen boy do the rest and Eddie is resurrected with even more agility and powers than ever before. Now as Chan discovers to his amazement he cannot be injured, can defy gravity and can literally fly through anything.

The director, Gordon Chan brings a mystical feel to his scenes especially the one at night on the treetops. And also in the ones where the dead come back to life. As usual Chan with his Fred Astaire sense of timing and energy saves the day. And in a Jackie Chan film what else is new?

CHITRA MAHESH

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