The Foreigner review
I’ll admit that I was excited to see The Foreigner. Not for the story or the action, but for the fact that we’re getting a new Jackie Chan movie in America. Though a lot of kids today don’t remember him, but from the mid nineties through the early 2000s, Jackie Chan was a Chinese martial artist who unexpectedly rose up to the action hero ranks of Stallone and Schwarzenegger. But unlike the big stature of Schwarzenegger, Chan had some of the fastest reflexes and spectacular fighting skills that we haven’t seen since Bruce Lee. His playful personality made him popular worldwide, especially with children. So what happened?
Where Jackie Chan went wrong was picking film roles that were either too fantastical (which doesn’t work well with martial artists) or simply not funny. After the travesty of The Spy Next Door, Chan seemed to go back to China do films over there. His presence in the US was limited and seemed to fade out. Even with his age, Chan has proven that he still has the skills to pull off action scenes. So with The Foreigner, Jackie Chan not only has a chance to show that he can still carry an action film, but he can even play against his type.
A retired special forced Vietnam veteran Quan (played by Jackie Chan) immigrated to the UK years ago and now runs a Chinese restaurant. A car bomb goes off, killing his teenage daughter. With no family left, the only thing on his mind is justice. He first goes to Scotland Yard to try and get then names, but finds no information. He then turns of Irish deputy minister Liam Hennessy (played by Pierce Brosnan) who was outspoken of his past a part of the Irish Republican Army. Phone calls don’t seem to be working, so Quan travels to Ireland to confront Hennessy.
I honestly don’t want to give the rest away as anymore would spoil certain parts of the story. The Foreigner is a political thriller in a disguised action movie. Does it pay off. I think it does as long as your willing to sit through a lot of political talk and corruption. It’s stuff that we’ve seen before, but I found it intriguing enough to want to see through the end. It’s helped by the fact that both Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan are phenomenal in their parts.
What’s unfortunate is that both of the leads are just as good as they were when they were popular, and yet we don’t see them as much as we used to. Though it’s hard to place blame, I think it’s definitely an age discrimination issue. The studios assume that audiences are only going to want to see younger stars take on the world, and leave their older actors out in the rain. It’s bad for film and doesn’t paint ourselves in a positive light.
Going back to the stars, Jackie Chan is just as much of an action hero as he was before. What he does different in The Foreigner is that he’s forced to give himself a more vulnerable look. On the surface, he looks like a quiet older Asian whose nonthreatening. He accomplishes what Liam Neeson couldn’t do in Taken; He appears that no one would ever suspect him. This could have not been easy for him (especially later on when we see how fit Chan really is), but this shows how well of a dramatic actor Chan is as well of an action star. Speaking of which, you definitely get the action you’d expect. It’s not as much Kung Fu, but simple defense.
I’ll give this four Irish Republican Army propaganda posters out of five. This movie doesn’t offer much new in terms of revenge stories, but it was at least entertaining. Those that want simple Jackie Chan action will get it, but they have to be willing to sit through a political thriller to get it. Check out and see why Jackie Chan is still worth our while.