Review: 'The Foreigner', Jackie Chan Returns With New Tricks Up His Sleeve

Jackie Chan is back!! It is great to see him kicking ass and taking names again, just like in his heyday. In The Foreigner, Chan takes on the role of Quan Ngoc Minh – a small business owner whose daughter gets killed during a terrorist bombing in London. The film opens with Chan picking his daughter up from school and taking her to buy a dress for a school dance. While she is in the store picking out her perfect outfit, a bomb goes off at the bank next door. She was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets trapped in the blast. Immediately we get to see a different side of Chan as he hugs the lifeless body of his daughter while weeping.

Over the next few weeks Chan is lost and despondent. His daughter was the only family he had left. All he can think about is justice coming to the terrorists who set off the bomb that sealed her fate. Chan goes to the London Anti-Terrorism unit daily to try and get information. He goes so far as to bribe an officer with all the money he has, just to get a name of one of the terrorists.  Unfortunately his efforts there prove to be fruitless. He scours articles, pictures, anything he can to get a clearer idea of who could be behind the destruction. Then one day he stumbles upon an interview with the Irish Deputy Minister, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan).

The terrorists that took credit for the bombing came from a group that identified as the “Authentic IRA.” Brosnan is a former IRA member with a dark past. Now he has renounced his past and serves the Irish people through a governmental position. Brosnan keeps asserting that he is looking for peace and hope for the Irish people, but Chan and the rest of us don’t buy it. Chan turns his focus to Brosnan after seeing this interview, which leads to a very dangerous game of cat and mouse between the two veteran action stars as Chan tries to get Brosnan to provide him with the names of the terrorists. Throughout the film, while Chan and Brosnan are at odds with each other, you constantly forget that the terrorists that actually committed the bombing are still out there. The effort that Chan has to put in to get the names from Brosnan overshadows everything else, including the terrorists themselves.

I have to say there is just something about older dudes (looking at you Liam Neeson) beating up a bunch of punks that audiences find appealing, present company included. The Foreigner does have some bumps along the way. At times the film starts to drag as they delve into international politics. There are also some weird sexual relationships that seem like they really weren’t necessary. It also is a little silly to see Chan look so feeble and helpless in one instance to a switch being flipped and him taking on groups of men at once with relative ease. Even with those issues, the movie is still a fun ride. Director Martin Campbell manages to add a new layer to a Jackie Chan action flick by adding a few intelligent traps and gadgets that Chan employs. There are some legitimately funny moments throughout the film as well, which is always a nice reprieve from such a dark subject matter. Neither Brosnan nor Chan disappoint and both turn in very solid performances, as was expected. The Foreigner doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but overall it is an enjoyable action film that shows you a glimpse at another side of Jackie Chan, but still satisfying your thirst for the Chan we all know and love.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5