Martin Campbell directs The Foreigner, an action/crime drama set around a businessman and father whose life is turned upside down after his daughter is killed in a terrorist attack, he seeks the names of those involved to get vengeance, looking to a politician who may have links to details around the attack. The film stars Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Katie Leung, Rufus Jones and Mark Tandy.
Ah it’s great to see Jackie Chan in a lead role in 2017, after a self announced retirement from the big screen he seems to be back and this time around, in a very different type of film for him, a sort of revenge tale set in London, Mr Quan is a believably loving family man who… also has special forces training because of course he does, devastated from losing his daughter. The premise seems all too real with real terrorist attacks taking place in London and the UK this year but a new sub-set of the IRA is the focus of the plot, it’s different and a bold take for a film involving revolving around modern terrorism in the UK.
And the film is an engaging, somewhat thrilling watch for a fair portion of the story but then it starts to lose its way, getting lost in intricate political relationships, one upmanship and a pretty incoherent plot threat following various people and plans among the IRA and calling a film ‘incoherent’ is something that’s way overused when it comes to film criticism, I genuinely couldn’t really follow aspects of the plot and didn’t really care to either. The heart of the plot is that tale of revenge for Mr Quan and it takes some suspension of disbelief, to really buy that a Chinese man in his 60s (Mr Quan) could do what he does in the film but hey it is Jackie Chan I guess and for what it’s worth, the action is done pretty well and Chan still kicks ass in close quarters combat, though we do get the feeling that he is fairly aged and mortal which helps bring some realism to things. That being said, seeing some of the things Quan manages to do border on unintentional humor – think Macgyver/Rambo melded into one.
Don’t get fooled though, this is definitely not an action film and you’ll be disappointed if you go into it expecting that. The main problem with the film is that it tries to be a gripping, emotional drama as well as an action thriller and half-asses it at both jobs, being an amalgam but a shallow take on either side. The action is good but few and far between while the dramatic elements are sparse and get lost in silly politics around the IRA and Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) who you probably don’t really care about at all. Failing to elicit emotional engagement with me was the films biggest downfall in my view, in a story that hinges on empathizing with the main character and his own emotions that drive him forward.
. Action scenes are done well
. By the numbers plot, goes nowhere interesting
. Some plot threads make no sense