#REVIEW: “THE FOREIGNER”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
In the opening minutes of The Foreigner, Quan Ngoc Minh (Jackie Chan) watches as the dress shop where is daughter (Katie Leung) is shopping is blown-up as collateral damage from an origination identifying itself as the Authentic IRA bombing of a nearby bank. Devastated by the loss of his only remaining family member, Quan goes on a mission to discover those responsible. His investigations bring him to Northern Irish politician Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan). When Hennessy won’t help, Quan decides to take matters into own hands and show the former IRA leader how far he is willing to go to uncover the truth.
Two-time James Bond Director Martin Campbell is used to big action scenes and he doesn’t disappoint here. While the explosions and hand-to-hand combat are impressive fun the most interesting aspect of these scenes is Chan who, unlike other aging action stars, acts his age. Throughout the Movie, he doesn’t recover from hits like a 20-year-old taking steroids: he stumbles, winces, and even passes out cauterizing his own wounds. This in no way diminishes Chan’s brilliant action sequences which will leave the audience wondering how the great fight Choreographer continues to come up with new ways to slide down rooftops and kick his opponents through windows.
The Foreigner marks perhaps one of Chan’s greatest performances. In stark contrast to Bronson’s cold politician, Chan is seen early in the Movie holding his dead daughter in the charred remains of the dress shop. It is not until he is speaking with police that you finally see him break as tears track down the face of the grieving man. His old man shuffle, as he leaves the police station is a rare look at Chan as a defeated hero. By making Quan vulnerable, Chan’s mission is immediately seen as righteous rather than vengeance.
Despite Quan’s tragic past, which is detailed in an exposition heavy scene early in the Movie, he is depicted as uniquely moral. While he is willing to go to any lengths to uncover those responsible for his daughter’s death, he only uses deadly force on those whom he considers guilty. This seems like a stretch since at various instances he makes his own nitroglycerin, builds a crude bomb, and beats up countless henchmen. Quan’s morality, however, makes his lethal acts more meaningful than if he had simply shot everyone who got in his way.
Adapted by David Marconi, the Movie is based on Stephen Leather’s 1992 Novel, The Chinaman. This, however, seems like little excuse for the continued use of the epitaph “Chinaman” throughout the Movie.
Great old-fashioned action flicks are difficult to come by in this age of CGI villains and green screen battles. The Foreigner is a great example of why Jackie Chan has long been held as one of the best action stars working today.
VVS Films release The Foreigner on Friday, October 13, 2017.