How can anyone not love Jackie Chan? The 63-year-old Chinese actor has starred in numerous action comedies and thrillers since the 1970s. Not only can he be really funny, he also can kick a lot of ass. Fresh from receiving a long overdue honorary Oscar this year, Jackie teams up with director Martin Campbell (who directed two of the best James Bond films–Casino Royale and GoldenEye) in a serious action thriller. The Foreigner is as raw as it is intense.
Based on the novel, The Chinaman, Quan (Chan) is a Chinese immigrant living in London as a restaurant owner. One day, he picks up his teenage daughter Fan (Katie Leung) from school so she can pick up a dress. The unthinkable happens when she dies in a terrorist bombing. Serving as a special forces operator in Vietnam, Quan brings back his skills and embarks on a search to find the terrorists. This leads to his encounter with IRA deputy minister Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), who might hold the clues about who is responsible for the bombing.
The movie might be to Taken, but Campbell takes it to his full advantage. After the disappointing Green Lantern, he returns to familiar territory of British politics. Along with screenwriter David Macroni, he creates a realistic glimpse of the conflict between England and Northern Ireland (which has been going on for centuries).
Chan stars in probably the most complete performance to date. He plays a broken, emotional man, who looks for vengeance after losing the last person he ever loved in his entire life. It’s amazing how Jackie can still perform his own stunts. His choreography in The Foreigner is more military-based than in his other movies. There is enough action to carry through. He and Brosnan play off together extremely well.
While it may have problems with the narrative (especially scenes that feel redundant), its fierce energy and interesting political background make The Foreigner good ol’ Saturday matinee entertainment.