The Foreigner, starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, is an action-thriller brought to us by none other than director of Casino Royale, Martin Campbell. The film tells the story of an aging businessman, Quan (Jackie Chan), whose quiet life is suddenly interrupted when his daughter is killed during a horrifying act of terror. A man who happens to have a long-buried past, erupts to seek revenge against those responsible all while trying to bring justice to his beloved daughter. While doing all he can to avenge his daughters death, Quan seems to believe it’s a British government official (Pierce Brosnan) who is the one responsible. The movie then has you contemplate whether or not he is in fact right…or if his vengeance and hatred for all has him blinded.
I must say, when first hearing about this film, I was interested, but also skeptical because I figured it could either be a movie worth watching or a total disaster. Chan’s character is reminiscent of Liam Neeson’s in the film Taken; being that something happens to a man’s daughter which ignites former attributes we otherwise would have never seen. Hold up, let me find the quote here…. “ I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you…. I will look for you, I will find you… and I will kill you.” Sound a little familiar? Well that’s what I was afraid of prior to screening this movie. I have to say though, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t fail in many of the aspects where Taken had (more specifically the last 2 films which were absolutely awful.)
Chan continues to be the most physical actor, to perhaps, ever live. His resume, already impressive in its own right, adds yet another electrifying performance. Not only did he showcase his physicality in this portrayal, but he also conquers the drama that was much needed in order for this part to be worth something seeing. Of course, there are a multitude of action scenes where he is at his best, but the emotion he conveys throughout is what really hit home.
Brosnan delivers one of his better showings in recent memory. Although I’ll admit, I am not a huge Pierce fan, here, he settles well into his role and is far more convincing than I anticipated. While offering much dialogue in the film, he does do a decent job carrying his performance from scene to scene. This, however, was one of my biggest gripes with the film.
The movie is almost too wordy at times and the pacing is not at all fluent. At times I was saying to myself, this is an action film. Other instances, a thriller, sometimes a full fledged drama, or even a movie that’s objective is to maybe push some type of political narrative. Could it have been all these in one? Absolutely, but it’s very hard to do a movie immensely well while blending various types of genres. Some members of the audience will have issues with it’s lack of identity and turbulent synopsis, but Chan somehow is able to glue everything together…somewhat.
The film certainly isn’t an edge of your seat action-ride like the trailer may lead you to believe, but there is enough that makes you appreciate all the things that have made us fans of Chan over the years. Does the film do too much at times? Eh, a bit. Like many of Chan’s movies before…it’s hard to project sincere realism from beginning to end. With that being said, it should be noted that a few of the films best moments came when the cat-and-mouse game between Brosnan and Hollywood’s most coveted stunt man was on full display.
This is not Chan’s best movie by any stretch, but it also shouldn’t be dismissed either. I will say, that I hope Chan continues to take on roles that consist of action…of course, but lead’s where a serious demeanor is also a necessity. In offering intense, fun action scenes along with suitable performances from both leads, its worth the price of admission seeing these two aging wonders go toe-to-toe.
Contribution by Nick Weninger