The Foreigner (2017)
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan
If you love Jackie Chan, martial arts, action, and even a bit of drama to pull at the heart strings, this movie is a no-brainer. Jackie Chan is still the man. And Brosnan, well, let’s just say Pierce is still fierce. See what I did there?
This is not Pierce Brosnan’s first time working with director Martin Campbell. They had actually worked together previously on Goldeneye (1995) where Brosnan played James Bond. (Campbell also directed Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006)). This exposes how much of a ‘bad ass’ Brosnan is on a scale of, well, being a bad ass of course – particularly in action roles. It also shows Campbell’s expertise, enthusiasm and perfectionism in directing big budget action movies. However, he has never had the experience of working with Jackie Chan – a world famous actor with a black belt in Hapkido, and who currently holds the World Record for ‘Most Stunts by a Living Actor’. But it has to be said, Campbell pulled this movie off perfectly from start to finish, with Chan and Brosnan’s character roles fitting them both flawlessly.
Now to get the actual movie review of the Foreigner. This film is set in London and Belfast. There’s a terrorist group known as the ‘Authentic IRA’ causing widespread havoc by bombing public buildings and transport. And this is where Chan comes in- he has to stop them. After all, they did kill someone very dear to him. This is all based on a book called The Chinaman by Stephen Leather (1992) – definitely worth a read too!
Chan stars as ‘Quan’, a widowed father who runs a Chinese restaurant in London. His only family is killed by a bomb in London. Quan seeks revenge. He focuses his attention on finding out the names of those behind the bombings. This brings him to Belfast where he meets the First Minister, ‘Liam Hennessy’ (Brosnan) who is head of the political group ‘Sinn Féin’. But Quan learns that Hennessy had previously been convicted for being involved with the IRA terrorist organisation. This leaves a distrust between the pair and Quan uses alternative ways to get what he wants.
This movie is not the typical Jackie Chan movie. We see a more serious side to him and his acting is on top form. He begins playing an average ‘dad’ character and as the story develops we learn more about his past and his character progresses to that of a ‘Rambo’ type fighting machine. Brosnan plays a shady and dishonest politician with fantastic character development continuously throughout. These outstanding actors prove that they are still worthy of making movies that don’t exclusively involve full out explosions and gun battles.
The action scenes in the Foreigner were done fantastically. The first action scene is a fight in a B&B and it really gets you sitting at the edge of your seat. It’s a hard hitting fight and you will genuinely end up worrying for Quan (fiction aside though, I personally thought he was a goner!)
After this, we have three more action-packed performances. A best bit would have to be the battle in the woods where Quan channels his inner ‘Rambo’ skills, setting traps and tackling a couple of goons (definitely not a scene to be missed). All of the fight scenes are very well done and there is no signs of CGI in the explosions (win win!) The make-up effects, particularly for wounds, are also highly professional, looking as real and gruesome as they should do.
Overall, with Chan and Brosnan on top form, the storyline and acting is definitely owed top marks. And of course with the action scenes being so well choreographed, it’s a movie that is hard to fault. The Foreigner deserves a solid 5/5. It was great to see Chan and Brosnan take on different types of character roles and nail them perfectly. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for them and if they will expand their choices of character roles or even take their careers in a whole new direction!
Reviewed by Jeff Turner (20/01/2018)