Reviewed by: Thomas Butcher
Childhood hero Jackie Chan is back on the silver screen as a revenge-seeking retired special forces agent whose daughter has been killed by terrorists. Let it be known right away that this movie does not disappoint.
Moviegoers get hooked in the first scene as this film starts off with a bang, literally. The daughter of Ngoc Minh Quan, played by actor Jackie Chan, is among a number of casualties after a bomb is set off by terrorists in a London street. This prompts Quan to seek out the bombers and make them pay for taking the life of his only daughter.
This leads Quan to Liam Hennessy, played by actor Pierce Brosnan, who is a British government official secretly involved with the bombers. Quan singlehandedly fights off all of Hennessy’s men, hoping that Hennessy will finally hand over the names of the bombers.
Based on the book “The Chinaman” by Stephen Leather, this action-packed cat-and-mouse game intersects with a whodunit mystery to deliver a truly engaging story. There is never a dull moment in director Martin Campbell’s “The Foreigner”.
Known primarily for his work in action-comedy films, Chan delves into what is arguably one of his most dramatic performances to date. With a limited amount of dialogue, Chan manages to emote so authentically that it becomes easy to forget the star actor in favor of the damaged character he portrays. This isn’t always easy for an actor to achieve, especially from one who is usually making you laugh and who is now making you cry instead. There is no question that Jackie Chan is believable as the heartbroken father Ngoc Minh Quan.
There is always a certain degree of preface involved when viewing a Jackie Chan movie. His mere presence is an indication that he is about to wipe the floor with whoever else is in the room. That is the reputation that Chan, as an actor, has built over the course of his career. While “The Foreigner” is not a comedy, there are moments that make you laugh. This is due to the common knowledge that you shouldn’t mess with Jackie, and yet a hoard of henchmen try to do so anyway.
“The Foreigner” is a great movie, but only if one pays enough attention to it. A lot of characters are introduced at the beginning of the film, and it’s the awareness of these characters that adds to the whodunit aspect of the story. Constantly questioning the true intentions of all these characters creates an added layer of suspense, but only if you don’t blink at the wrong time.
While time spent in scenes without Jackie Chan keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to see him again, sometimes it feels like you’re waiting a bit too long. Chan is, in essence, the title character, and yet Pierce Brosnan seems to hold more screen time than Chan. Not to say that Brosnan wasn’t convincing and engaging in his own right, but it’s hard to compete with the magnetism of Jackie Chan.
It’s always a good sign when a movie leaves you wanting more, and at this point, it seems impossible to never want more of what Jackie Chan has to offer.