Finally, our beloved Jackie Chan returns to the big screen. It has been a hot minute that we have seen him in action. ‘The Foreigner’ marks the great Jackie Chan’s return to English-language films after years away working in China. Unfortunately, anyone expecting a return of the insanely dangerous and beautifully choreographed action hero that made Chan an international superstar will walk away disappointed. The Foreigner isn’t exactly the “older fella kicking ass” that the trailers tried to sell it as, and it's instead a darker, more in depth movie than expected.
Chan stars as a single father living in Britain whose life is turned upside down when his daughter dies in a terrorist bombing. He shows up at the police station every day hoping to encourage some sort of action, but it becomes clear that the guy will have to take matters into his own hands if he wants justice. Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan co-stars as a former IRA hardman turned Northern Ireland government official whose primary job now is keeping the peace amongst the broken factions of the IRA. He knows that someone in his organization is responsible for the initial attack and those that follow. He cuts secret deals with British politicians to make some pardons for friends if he can find out who was responsible for the bombing. The trouble is that the plot may be focused on him, and now Chan (a former revolutionary himself) is wandering around ensuring that someone pays for his daughter’s death. Cue the fireworks.
Director Martin Campbell brought us one of the greatest James Bond movies of all time with Casino Royale and the fun of The Mask of Zorro, but for some reason, The Foreigner to me was just ok. I think it did focus a lot more on Pierce Brosnan's character than Jackie Chan’s. With the exception of one crazy gun battle scene that definitely gets your heart racing, the action scenes feel a little sterile, even though some of it had to be because of the storyline. It got better when Jackie Chan came on the screen though. Even at 63, Chan can still make you believe he’s about to whoop some ass, even if he’s not attempting any of the pure stunt fight insanity that brought him to his legendary status. But make no mistake, there’s definitely some joy in seeing Jackie Chan going head to head with Pierce Brosnan.
Overall the plotline didn't work. If 'The Foreigner' is supposed to tell the story of a widowed father, then so be it. Stick to it. Focus in on Chan’s ability to be entertaining and dynamic. Time after time, Campbell focus the film’s attention on more of Pierce Brosnan's story. When it loses sight, the movie turns to complex combat fight scenes. This, of course, is where Chan thrives. There’s still something thrilling about watching Chan, even at 63, he still can fight people half his age. There’s is something graceful with his punching and kicking. He’s poetry in motion. No film can take that away from him.
I give this movie 2.5 stars out of 5. Oh well, there’s always ‘Rush Hour 4' coming soon. Till then. Have a great weekend! -xo Mel