PEGGY J. ROGERS
Jackie Chan mixes martial arts with slapstick for rollicking fun
silliness in "The Medallion." Chan also has his first semi-serious
on-screen kiss with the beautiful Claire Foriani ("Meet Joe Black").
In his efforts to stop a thief from kidnapping a child and
stealing his sacred medallion, Eddie Yang, a Hong Kong cop, saves a
boy's life, but loses his own life in the process. Grateful for the
rescue, the boy gives Eddie his life back through the sacred powers
of a medallion.
Checking to make sure he is alive, Eddie realizes his
death-to-life transformation comes with the added bonus of acute
super-human powers. Eddie now leaps over high walls he once had to
climb, and runs faster than the speed of sound.
A second attempt is made to steal the boy and medallion. The evil
Snakehead plans on ruling the world using the medallion to give him
the same super human powers Eddie and the boy have. It's up to Eddie
Yang to face off against and triumph over Snakehead.
Fans of Chan will be delighted, teens new to Jackie's movies will
be entertained, and adults might find some amusement in "The
* PEGGY J. ROGERS, 40, produces commercial videos and
'Thirteen' explores the battlefield of adolescence
"Thirteen" is first-time filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke's grim
portrait of a teenage girl's rite of passage in Los Angeles. Tracy
(Evan Rachel Wood), a shy girl and good student, approaches Evie
(Nikki Reed), the school's ultra-popular bad influence early in the
film. After sizing up each other's clothing, jewelry, hair, shoes and
socks they decide to go shopping on Melrose. Tracy, however, doesn't
prove herself worthy of Evie's company until after she has lifted
money from the purse of an unsuspecting woman. Entering the world of
peer pressure, Tracy spirals downward, copying Evie's every move in
an aggressive game of daring each other to take increasingly
dangerous risks: Stealing, getting piercings, experimenting with sex,
drinking, huffing and more.
Tracy's mom (Holly Hunter) is a laid-back recovering alcoholic
trying to be open-minded and supportive about her daughter's
rebellion, but dealing with her own co-dependent relationship with a
boyfriend, and the continual absenteeism of Tracy's father in Tracy's
life. As she slowly loses her authority and her ability to cope with
these hormone and drug-crazed teens, the film begins to crackle.
Skillful and creative use of digital photography from
cinematographer Elliot Davis accentuates the raw feeling of the
story. The screenplay by Hardwicke and actress, Nikki Reed, is sharp
and captures the nuances of today's youth with dialogue that is raw,
uncensored and true. This film never apologizes for it's rudeness but
is not entirely bleak. Hunter, Reed and Wood turn in breakthrough
"Seventeen" will make every parent wince while placing a knot in
their stomach. Kids who attend this rated R picture, will be moved to
tears because they either identify with elements of the film or know
someone who does. I'd recommend every parent see this film with their
teen, but give them the space to experience the film, perhaps from
two rows behind you.
Unlike the issue-based ABC after-school specials, I grew up
watching, this film will speak to parents and teens alike, without
preaching, but through shock. Perhaps more films like this, which
offer shock value, are needed to relay messages in a world in which
many of us have been desensitized to bland and censored TV fare.
* RAY BUFFER, 34, is a professional singer, actor and voice-over