The Foreigner – ★ ★ ★ ★ Review
An excellent action-thriller that hit all the right notes.
Jackie Chan plays Quan, a father whose daughter is killed in an terrorist explosion in London. A faction of the IRA is claiming responsibility, but the authorities are having no luck tracking them down. When Chan learns that the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), had past ties to the IRA and might know how to catch the bombers, he presses the man relentlessly for information about the killers, information he insists he doesn’t have. Quan doesn’t believe him, and for good reason. Hennessy is busy tracking down the bombers himself because he doesn’t just have past ties to the IRA, he has active ties too that actually didn’t seem to have anything to do with this particular bombing.
I think I first saw the trailer for The Foreigner in October last year, and was rather upset that it didn’t play in cinemas around my home. Though this isn’t necessarily one of the huge blockbusters that I usually deem theatre worthy, I really did want to see it and would have gone to see it in theatres. Several months later it came out on DVD and I watched it (and yes, I know, several more months later I’m actually reviewing it).
Jackie Chan was absolutely excellent. He played the role very seriously, as did everyone else, but there was no comedy on his part in this performance, which is something he is know for bringing into his films. Even in the most serious action scene there is usually some funny spot in his films, but this time he played the part of a 65 year old man, who was mourning the loss of his daughter and he wanted to do something about it. Chan played serious as I said, but he also “acted his age”. Quan is a seasoned former black-ops type soldier, so he clearly has lethal skills but they aren’t as polished as they once were. He now fights like a older man, he is not as fast, not as strong, but his training makes him just as effective and I thought made the film more believable. Yes, Chan still got in a few of his “signature moves”; in most of his movies that I’ve seen when someone attacks him with a knife, he pulls off his jacket or grabs a towel or something and twists and ties up the attacker’s arms, dodging the attack and looking pretty cool at the same time. He does that in The Foreigner too, but he does it slower, and clumsier than in his other films. Pierce Brosnan was also excellent and at times just as brutal, taking his own brand of justice into his own hands, on the good guys, on the bad guys, on his friends and even on his own family. A very clever thriller, and at times a brutally honest revenge film.
Bottom Line: I like the serious Jackie Chan.