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The Foreigner stars Jackie Chan in his most dramatic role as Ngoc Minh Quan. Chan has acted in serious movies before, but The Foreigner was a different and challenging role for him. Chan trades his signature charisma for gravitas that I haven't seen from him before. He gave a great performance, and so did Pierce Brosnan playing against type as Liam Hennessy. They made the movie consistently watchable, and some of the best scenes are the confrontations between the two.
The action scenes were also pretty good. Because Jackie Chan is in his 60s, and because The Foreigner is also a political thriller, you don't see many fight scenes, but when you do, it's pretty brutal, even though it empathizes violence over athleticism. The most impressive scene is when Chan falls off a roof and slides down a pole in one take. Surely, he broke a few bones while performing that stunt.
However, the problem I have with this film is that I could not sympathize with Chan's character, even though he's a broken man who has lost his entire family. When his daughter was killed at the beginning of the film by a group of IRA terrorists, he makes it his mission to avenge his daughter by going after Liam Hennessy, even though he has no solid evidence of Hennessy being involved, other than his history of being a member of the IRA.
The Foreigner doesn't have the simplicity that you might find in other revenge/vigilante movies like Taken, John Wick, and The Equalizer, because it's actually a convoluted political thriller about Liam Hennessy trying to find the IRA bombers. The movie spends much of its running time explaining the history between the IRA and the British government, as well as the actions and motivations of its characters. While Quan's motivation is cut and dry, Hennessy's motivation is kept in the dark, probably to create intrigue, but with endless amounts of twists and double-crossings, it's difficult to tell if he's supposed to be a villain or if we're supposed to sympathize with him (maybe even both).
Chan's contribution to the film was actually pretty small. He was largely absent through the second of half of the film, as the movie tries to be both a revenge thriller and a political thriller. Not only that, his character isn't even central to the plot at all, making his presence feel minimal. The movie doesn't trust Chan's ability as an actor to carry the movie so they throw an arbitrary IRA subplot (that actually becomes the main plot) into the storyline. Without Quan, Hennessy's story arc wouldn't change at all.
There's also a torture scene where a bomb is set to go off in 9 minutes, but the female terrorist gives up the location of the bomb just because the police has a set of jumper cables. Why couldn't she endure it for 9 minutes?
In the end, The Foreigner is watchable, but derivative. The plot wasn't incredibly difficult to follow, but there were many unnecessary subplots and secondary characters, and large amounts of exposition was thrown at the audience. I wish the movie would either focus on being a revenge thriller or a political thriller. Instead, The Foreigner tries to do both with uneven results.
I was actually pretty close to loving this movie, it has a lot of the ingredients of something I would love. This type of story of unassuming man pushed too far, goes to lengths of brutality out of a sense of honor but only wants to return to his humble life, and all done with a lens of extreme grimness. It reminded me a lot A Walk Among The Tombstones, which was one of my favorite movies of that year. But Walk had a very straightforward plot you could get behind, The Foreigner unfortunately doesn't and that's where it falters. There's a lot of talk about terrorists and new IRA and past dealings and who's really the bad guy it becomes a distraction and it's all told very clumsily. We need to be rooting for Jackie Chan's character in a film like this, and for a while I was more just confused because I wasn't even clear that he was going after the right guy. That said, when the story does what it's supposed to, it works, and I loved it's nihilistic approach and conclusion. And the stuff with Jackie is all absolutely flawless. This is not a typical performance from him, he plays a broken man and even his fight sequences have an unexpected amount of grit to them. It's extremely out of character, but he goes full force into the performance and absolutely nails it. That performance and the grim tone elevate the movie enough over it's narrative stumbles. Another rewrite this could've been a favorite for me, so it's disappointing, but as is I still found a lot to like.
quite decent actually!
There's no doubt that this latest in a line of revenge thrillers is a little ridiculous, but it's impossible not to cheer on an aged Jackie Chan - who is far from his usual indestructible self here - go all vigilante against the IRA while running rings around the British police. It's also fun to see Pierce Brosnan in spitting, growling mode as a Gerry Adams-type figure, and it sees him come full circle - he played a Northern Irish terrorist in his first film, The Long Good Friday. The whole endeavour has a classier air than you'd expect, until you realise it's directed by Bond alumnus Martin Campbell, who gives the proceedings style and edge.
Good action, great fight scenes. To story a little bit dumb, but acting is good.
Very much a suprise as I had a feeling it would underwhelm me but damn if it didn't live up to the hype and kick ass. This is easily Jackie's best performance and one of Brosnan's best, as he was very much against type. Both were in a bit of genius. Campbell did an awesome job in the directing chair.
It's not perfect (slow start, wacky plot at points,) but once the action kicks in and the fun start damn it gets good. I love how every important characther gets a few scenes and it all mingles good. I also liked how the sex appeal of the film is the oldest woman in the cast and boy was she a stunner. This movie goes against every modern trope and works.
Hate I missed this in the theaters; woulda been proud to give this 6 bucks then but I plan on getting the BR for sure.
If you like Jackie Chan, you'll enjoy this movie. There's not as much martial arts as other films by Chan, but it's a decent story.
Lots of great elements. Kept me paying attention. Well done!
very good movie, Jackie Chan is one of the excellent actors in this movie. Even he is old now, but his professnial skills still perfect showed in this movie, lots of plots... Worth to watch