Movie Review: STX Films' The Foreigner - #TheForeigner

The Foreigner
Starring: Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan
Rated: R
Run Time: 114 minutes
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Screenplay by David Marconi, Based on the Novel “The Chinaman” by Stephen Leather
Producers: Jackie Chan, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Arthur Sarkissian, Qi Jian Hong, Claire Kupchak, Scott Lumpkin, Jamie Marshall, Cathy Schulman ​
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The Foreigner, starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, is a timely action thriller from the director of “Casino Royale.” The film tells the story of humble London businessman Quan (Chan), whose long-buried past erupts 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 (Brosnan), whose own past may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers.

I didn’t know what to think of this week’s The Foreigner when I agreed to sit for a screening.  It has been a while since Jackie Chan had a starring role in a film.  In his sixties, I wasn’t sure if he could still deliver the action sequences of his past. I enjoyed some of The Foreigner, but not all.

Let’s cover the bad aspects first.  The story is almost too timely.  I’m tired of worrying about real random violence in the world today.  Terrorist threats and actions are all over the news, every day. The Foreigner offers nothing by way of escapist entertainment.  The plot felt like it was lifted-off the news headlines.  It was too real, and that was too much. It also felt irresponsible to glorify guns and violence in the manner this movie does.  

Also, I'm not sure that Jackie Chan (as Quan) was the best person to lead this film. He looked tired for the entire movie. The action scenes were nice to see, but they looked more carefully choreographed than in any action film Chan has done before. And Chan seemed to be lacking in his acting range. When he was supposed to look sorrowful, he looked flat. Chan's facial expressions, and lack thereof, were disappointing. Chan was easily out-shined by his co-star, Pierce Brosnan (as Liam Hennessy), in a movie that was supposed to be about Chan. While there are other members of the cast, The Foreigner is about the relationship between Hennessy and Chan.  The audience is supposed to root for one of them, and I found myself rooting for the wrong one. 

Next up is the musical score of The Foreigner. What was that? I would have enjoyed the movie so much more without the 1990's sounding musical score. It was very over-powering and out of place. It was distracting to the story instead of enhancing to it.  

But I didn't dislike all of the movie. I appreciated the geo-political plot. Films with a global view are enlightening.  I liked the fast talking political negotiations. Brosnan's star shown brightest during these scenes. 

The cat and mouse chase was predictable, but fun. I enjoyed putting together the puzzle. Not bad for a revenge-style movie as long as no one over thinks some of the impossible scenarios in the movie. 

The Foreigner is very middle of the road.  There is no need to rush out to see it in a theater. I could have watched this in the comfort of my living room and enjoyed it just fine. I would have liked the ability to turn-down the annoying musical score. If you want to see The Foreigner in a theater, it is playing everywhere now. 

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