Jackie Chan still has it and you definitely don’t want to push him too far.
Synopsis: On a mission to track down the rogue Irish radicals responsible for his beloved daughter’s death, a man is forced to push his moral and physical boundaries beyond limits to overcome the mysterious foreign power standing between him and the truth. (VVS Films)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, and Michael McElhatton
Writer: David Marconi
Director: Martin Campbell
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 114mins
For showtimes and more, check out The Foreigner on movietimes.com.
Jackie Chan isn’t the action star he used to be but he can still get the job done although he handles himself a little differently here. Here he plays a man named Quan Ngoc Minh who loses his daughter in a bombing. Now with no family left, Minh has nothing left to lose and is out for revenge against those who killed his daughter. The only person standing in his way was an Irish deputy minister and former member of the IRA named Liam Hennessy (Brosnan).
With any action film involving an older father and his daughter, it is easy to draw parallels to the Taken series. While there are some similarities, they are much different films. Probably the biggest difference was that this film wasn’t only about Minh as the film also focused a significant amount of time on Hennessy and his own investigation into what happened. According to Minh, Hennessy was the enemy but it wasn’t always clear if that was actually the case which made it interesting to watch. This gave the film more of a political thriller feel, however, it took too momentum away from the main revenge storyline.
Minh’s revenge was the better of the two by far because it was driven by sheer emotion. What sets this film apart from other action films is its depth. All of Minh’s actions throughout the film had a real sense of purpose behind them and making them more satisfying whenever he prevailed. Minh obviously wasn’t the man he used be, having lost a step or two due to his age so he had to use his many skills as much if not more than his fighting ability. Seeing Minh at work was incredibly fun to watch as we wonder how he’ll get out of dicey situations. The back and forth game between Minh and Hennessey was the best part of the film. Minh always seemed to be a step ahead of Hennessey and his minions as they kept underestimating him for his age.
The action was well done all around but the story’s lack of balance made it so there was less of it than what some may expect. As mentioned, Chan is a lot older now but he did not lose a step here as the action sequences catered to his many strengths and the character’s strengths. The action flowed beautifully as he made it look very effortless.
Chan was more than just an action star as he was asked to do a little more and he delivered, bringing emotion to Minh by relying more on his range of facial expressions than words. There were plenty of non-dialog scenes where it was just him but he still managed to convey so much without having to say anything at all. Minh was a very sympathetic character which made Chan very compelling to watch. Brosnan as Hennessey was an equally excellent foil with plenty of depth of his own. He and Chan had great chemistry and screen presence as the film was better whenever they were both on screen.
Overall, this was an exciting action film with a surprising amount of depth which was also hurt by a slightly unbalanced story but featured excellent performances by the ageless Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan.