Movie Review: The Foreigner (2017)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan and Michael McElhatton

Directed by: Martin Campbell

An elderly and humble businessman with a secretive past seeks justice after his daughter is killed in a bombing attack in London committed by the IRA. In a game of cat and mouse, one Irish minister with a chequered past may hold the clues to the killers’ identities.

The Foreigner was a movie that really caught me off guard as I assumed that it was going to feature quite a lot of martial arts due to the inclusion of Jackie Chan and as I never really did any research on the movie prior to watching, the gritty nature of the film was a surprise but an extraordinarily pleasant one at that. Jackie chan is type cast in predominately martial arts/king fu movies and rightly so as he has done so much to elevate that particular genre of film and bring it into the mainstream. The only problem with Jackie Chan being a mainstay within the martial arts scene is that he’s had little opportunities to break away from this area of cinema but thankfully The Foreigner allows him to flourish and show his true acting ability while allowing him to show a small amount of his fighting ability and stunt work. I’m not sure how much of his stunts Jackie Chan does any more at the ripe old age of 64 but if he’s still doing most of his own work then kudos to him.

The story started off with a bang, quite literally with a bomb being detonated leaving a bunch of people dead including Quan Ngoc Minh’s (Jackie Chan) daughter. After the initial drama and excitement of explosions and action straight away the movie took a more subdued approach as the story then started to build slowly while revealing details about the bombers and who was behind the plot that took many innocent lives. The action was spread out well across the movie as Quan’s secretive past is uncovered as he takes the fight single handedly to the IRA and its powerful and influential members. Pierce Brosnan starred opposite Chan as Liam Hennessy, once a key member within the IRA turned political minister, and he tries to keep the peace within Ireland but still remains involved in the decision making within the IRA. I found that while the pair of them didn’t share a huge amount of screen time together they did seemingly work well while going head to head in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Prior to this year I really disliked Brosnan and found him to be a somewhat poor actor who had he not been James Bond wouldn’t have had much of a career but this year he’s slowly started to win me over as I’ve seen him in Mamma Mia 2, Evelyn and now The Foreigner and I have thoroughly enjoyed each movie and his performances in the latter two of those movies have been rather impressive to say the least.

I loved the gritty nature of this film and the tension that was built was extremely well timed and I liked that in the final ten minutes or so everything was wrapped up quite nicely without any real questions being left unanswered. As I was watching the movie unfold I was hit with many blasts from the pasts as there were quite a few old British actors and actresses that I recognised from old TV shows and if nothing else allowed me to reflect on some of my poor choices in TV viewing when I was younger.

Overall, The Foreigner was a wonderful little movie that allowed Jackie Chan to let his acting ability shine rather than relying on his bread and butter with the martial arts. The story was great and I think I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous blogs but I do enjoy a movie that is centred around the IRA, whether it’s factual or fictional it’s a subject matter than I’m really drawn to.

8/10

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