When a good man is pushed too far and has nothing to lose, there’s bound to be hell to pay…
While I’ll be the first to admit that it hits some well worn grooves in the action thriller motif, The Foreigner is still a hell of a lot of fun thanks to a Jackie Chan who wasn’t afraid to show his age and occasionally get hit along the way.
A London restaurateur; Quan (Jackie Chan) sees his long-buried past erupt in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love; his teenage daughter is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism. In his relentless search for the identity of the terrorists, Quan is forced into a cat-and-mouse conflict with a British government official (Pierce Brosnan), whose own past with the Irish Republican Army may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers and gives Quan someone to focus all of his rage on to.
I’ll be the first to admit that this film does descend into some fairly goofy and crazy territory; The Foreigner works exceptionally well as an above average piece of action pulp.
Director Martin Campbell is certainly an old hand at this type of film and he eases it into the proceedings with a fair bit of ease taking the elements of off the wall action and serious political thriller elements and shaking them all up into this melting pot that plays a little more like a Death Wish or Rambo sequel then a Bond or political type of thriller. Campbell stages his set pieces very well and uses Jackie Chan in the exact way that he should be; no one is a superhero in this picture, people get hit and everything hurts. It’s a credit to Campbell as he makes sure we feel it every step of the way while the script from David Marconi who adapted it from the book called The Chinaman by Stephen Leather plays fairly effortlessly. Much as it was a book that you pick up and read on a plane ride for an entertaining and effortless read this film turns into the kind of action thriller that ends up being a fun trip to theatre which to be honest is why we go the cinema in the first place.
Jackie Chan finally embraces his age in a film and gets his Liam Neeson going as he channels the spirit of a man who has lived through a life of violence only to get dragged into it once more. He’s not the superhero bouncing off of walls and off of rooftops, he’s kicking ass in such an economical and no-nonsense fashion that it actually ends up being more than a little refreshing. Pierce Brosnan plays the smarmy bureaucrat quite well while still keeping the edge of a former terrorist leader and they both play off of each other pretty well even though they spend the bulk of the film apart. They make the build between their two characters a fun ride that you’ll want to get on board with from the opening frames.
The Foreigner is hardly something changing the cinematic game, but if you’re in the market for an entertaining thriller this is pretty well the best thing on the market right now.