Did I miss a meeting or wasn’t one of the great things about Jackie Chan that he didn’t need any special effects? Back in the day, Chan was his own special effect, and that was plenty special enough.
After all those years and broken bones, it isn’t surprising that he is ready to let the technology do some of the work for him. And it isn’t surprising that Chan sees some appeal in a story about a charm that can bestow eternal life and strength. But it isn’t as much fun.
In this movie, Chan plays Hong Kong cop Eddie Yang. A bad guy named Snakehead (Julian Sands) is after a medallion and the child who can give it the power to grant eternal life. Working with officers from Interpol (British comic actor Lee Evans as Watson and Clare Forlani as Nicole), Eddie chases after Snakehead and his henchmen, from Hong Kong to Ireland. Along the way, both Eddie and Snakehead get medallion-ized superpowers. It’s fun to see Jackie try out his new powers (only Jackie would come up with superpowers that allow him to feel all the pain when he gets injured before magically healing the wounds). But no amount of flying around or recovering from massive injuries will ever be as magical as seeing Jackie fight when he was at his best.
Jackie’s action scenes are still 90% of what this movie has to offer, and there are a couple of good ones, including an extended chase that is pretty exciting, even though it relies on wires for some of the best stunts. The rest is just dumb jokes (an extended double entendre exchange that has some of the Interpol cops thinking that Eddie and Watson are gay, some potty humor), a brief love interest, and the aforementioned special effects.
Parents should know that the movie includes extensive action violence (not very graphic), including a child in peril. There is brief strong language and double entendre humor.
Families who see this movie should talk about whether they would want to have — or to be able to give — the powers granted by the medallion. What would be the benefits and what would be the drawbacks?
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy some of Chan’s better films, and a compliation of some of his best work in Jackie Chan: My Stunts.