Jackie Chan is back to doing a box office film in the states! This is pretty exciting considering that we haven’t seen him in a big film here since 2010’s Karate Kid. The Foreigner is a respectable return for the action star, allowing us to see Chan’s ability to act as well as showing that he can still fight with the best of them!
Quan (Chan) is a humble businessman in London that lives with the only surviving member of his family, his daughter. However, when Quan’s daughter is killed by a terrorist bomb attack that seems to point to the IRA, Quan reverts back to his special military forces past to exact revenge on those who are responsible. His quest for vengeance leads to a cat and mouse game with Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), A British Government official whose past may reveal the answers that Quan is looking for.
The back and forth acting scenes between Chan and Brosnan were my favorite scenes in the film. Chan absolutely nails the heartbroken father that is hell-bent on making the murderers of his daughter pay. Brosnan is also great as this official who really seems to want to do the right thing, but is caught up in a convoluted web of lies and betrayal. I sensed a real chemistry between the two actors and both had great intensity with dialogue when the story called for it.
Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) does a nice job of balancing the action with the drama. Just when you feel that the action needs to pick up, it typically does and gives you a much needed break from the subplots in the story. Jackie Chan, even at this age, is still a remarkable stuntman and choreographer. His timing and precision with each fight is still a joy to behold on screen. However, with so many Marvel films and movies like Atomic Blonde, which really had very innovative and intense fight scenes, I can’t say that the fighting here was more enjoyable than those films.
Moreover, if there is a flaw with this film, it is the story in my opinion. The convoluted interworking of the IRA and how it connects to the government officials is very confusing at times and leaves more questions than answers. There are also subplots involving infidelity and betrayal that feel forced into the plot to make everything connect in the end. With that being said, the story is also very straight forward in that it offers no real surprises or aspects that you won’t see coming a mile away. On its own, this may have been for the purpose of making us focus on the two leads. But the lack of originality or style (which is what movies like Atomic Blonde had plenty of this year), make this quite the mediocre affair whenever Chan and Brosnan aren’t both on the screen. The result is something that I “kind of” enjoyed rather than being something I really enjoyed.
All in all, if you are a fan of Jackie Chan or just looking for that action fix, I would recommend this film. Flaws and story aside, this is an enjoyable time at the movies. I hope the film has some success, and we see more of Chan in serious roles. He definitely still has something left to offer at the box office, and I’d love to see more of him in the future.
60 roundhouse kicks through a glass window out of 100 (60%).