THE FOREIGNER – A Review by Cynthia Flores
The Foreigner is the new action film based on the 1992 novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather. It’s a British and Chinese co-produced film so you get the best of both worlds. Throw in the fact that the director (Martin Campbell) has two James Bond films under his belt and you can expect some great action sequences with fast-paced chases. Lucky for us, The Foreigner delivers in spades.
The film opens with loving overprotective father, Mgoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan) taking his teenaged daughter Fan (Katie Leung) to a shop in town to buy a dress for the dance, which her new boyfriend is taking her to. They’re in London and it's a busy shopping day on the crowded city street. Quan gets into a fender bender as he’s trying to park. Once outside his car confronting the other driver, his world is literally blown apart by a bomb detonating at the bank adjacent to the shop his daughter has gone into ahead of him. The authorities are called and told by someone on the other end of the line with a thick Irish accent, “A bomb has just gone off at a bank downtown. It is the work of the Authentic IRA!” This is a shock because England and the Irish IRA have had a peace agreement for the last nineteen years, and no one has broken it until now.
The aftermath scene is really vivid and as the first responders get there to help the wounded, the police are there as well taking photos for evidence. That’s when we see a banged up Quan, inconsolably crying out loud as he sits in a corner of the burned out shop holding the bloodied, lifeless body of his daughter.
The rest of the film is action packed with fight scenes and more explosions as Quan, a seemingly humble London small business owner, digs into his long-buried past which happens to include the fact that he’s a retired military operative and all round badass. Even at the ripe old age of sixty, after being put off by the police when he asks for the names of the terrorists, he erupts into a revenge-fueled vendetta to find and destroy the people responsible for killing his only child in an act of politically motivated terrorism.
Quan is convinced that the Irishman, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member turned British government official, still has enough ties with his old buddies to be able to tell him the names of the people responsible for the bank bombing. Quan drives to Ireland to politely ask for his help and is brushed off as a grieving old man. So, he chooses to turn up the heat by terrorizing Liam at his office and then at his country home where he thinks he’s safe with twenty men guarding him. Quan teaches Liam that he’s not as untouchable as he thinks.
The Foreigner is a little tough to watch at times because there are several terrorist bombings in the movie and it doesn’t flinch when it portrays the callousness that the terrorists show as they blow up innocent women and children that get in the way of their political statements. With everything that’s going on in our world right now, it hits a little close to home. That being said, the movie’s a great ride with twists and turns concerning who the real bad guys are and what they deserve in the end.
The Foreigner is a must see film for anyone that loves a good thriller and is a fan of Jackie Chan. Be warned however, this is not your happy go lucky comedic Jackie Chan of silly films from the 80’s. So leave the kids at home. There’s a reason this is an R-rated film, it’s truly violent. This Jackie is a man of few words, that will mess you up by any means necessary to avenge the death of his beloved daughter. No silliness to be found here. So adults only, go and enjoy this tougher version of the great Jackie Chan in a theater near you.
Directed by Martin Campbell
Written By David Marconi
Selig Rating A
Running Time 114 min
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Charlie Murphy, Michael McElhatton, Orla Brady, Liu Tao, and Katie Leung
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.