Note: This is a spoiler-free The Foreigner review
Jackie Chan is a legend boys and girls. He’s won 38 awards in his career, including an honorary Oscar just last year. What Chan typically does so well is a mix of Kung Fu, action, and story that blends into a fun time at the movies.
Although the storyline and plot is seriously lacking, The Foreigner gives you exactly what you expect from a Jackie Chan film with the action and some added emotion.
The first thing I noticed — and enjoyed — was a different tone to The Foreigner than the “traditional” Jackie Chan movie. This film has a lot of heart, right from the first scene. Not that other films featuring Chan don’t, it’s just much clearer here. It’s a good role for Chan. He’s one of the more likable guys in Hollywood, and it’s great to see him embrace that personality.
As a scorned father who loses his daughter in a terrorist bombing by the name of Quan Ngoc Minh, Chan quickly gives you an undeniable character to root for.
The other thing that stands out about The Foreigner is the action. Not the amount of action — there’s plenty — but the type of action. Most of the time, with Jackie Chan involved, I expect a lot of hand-to-hand ass kicking. There is some of that, but there’s also a lot of explosions and shootouts in the film. I personally prefer the hand-to-hand combat, but in a 2017 action/thriller, the explosions are expected.
I point out these differences in The Foreigner from a “traditional” Jackie Chan movie and follow up with this. Although it’s marketed with Chan as the star, in a way The Foreigner isn’t really a Jackie Chan movie. There are more than a few distinct storylines in the film, and Chan is only featured in one of them. He’s also missing from a pretty large chunk in the middle.
Those scenes are filled by Pierce Brosnan, who plays a former IRA outlaw called Liam Hennessy. Hennessy is responsible for finding the people responsible for the bombing, now as a politician rather than a radical looking for change. Pressure from his peers of the past and the present combine as he attempts to stop the pressure from boiling over.
Brosnan proves to be stoic and dynamic in the film. He does a worthy job with his character and stands out as a clear second lead.
The Failings Of The Foreigner
Everything else about The Foreigner is a bit underwhelming. The film tries its hand at twists and turns throughout, but they’re pretty easy to pick up. Some of the themes and dialogue in the film are a bit repetitive, just done in a slightly different way. Some scenes are well done; whether it be for the action, the intensity, or the emotion. Those are few and far between, however. There are also a few relationships in the film that seem forced in that they don’t really move the plot in a specific direction.
Speaking of the plot, the storyline feels very disjointed. The attempt is to bring a few stories together into one, but it doesn’t work. The end feels rushed and everything is just solved all of the sudden.
Should I Go See The Foreigner?
Your decision to see Jackie Chan’s newest film in theaters relies solely on what you’re looking for. If you want a movie with a quality story and a satisfying ending, this is not it. If you’re looking for an action thriller that has a lot of explosions, guns, and butt-kicking you’ll walk away satisfied.