Sunday, October 22, 2017

Movie Review: "The Foreigner" (2017)

Director: Martin Campbell
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

When a man's daughter is killed in a terrorist bombing, he goes on a personal mission to find those responsible and vows to bring them to justice. As he searches for answers, a politician with IRA ties does his own investigation in order to gain political favor with the British while simultaneously avoiding the bereaved father's wrath.

What would you do if someone killed your child? What lengths would you go to see the person or persons responsible brought to justice? When the daughter of Quan Ngoc Minh, played by Jackie Chan, is killed in a terrorist attack, he will stop at nothing to make sure the bombers are found and brought to justice. Quan approaches a Northern Irish politician named Liam Hennessy, played by Pierce Brosnan, in search for answers. Hennesy has past ties to the IRA, and Quan believes Liam knows who the bombers are or may at least have information that will point him in the right direction. Until he gives him what he needs, Quan will make sure he is Liam's worst nightmare. "The Foreigner" is directed by Martin Campbell who is known for directing films like "GoldenEye," "Casino Royale," and "The Mask of Zorro." The screenplay is written by David Marconi and is based on the novel "The Chinaman" by Stephen Leather.

If you go into this film expecting a typical light-hearted Jackie Chan flick akin to something like the "Rush Hour" series, the "Shanghai Noon" series, or even something like "Rumble in the Bronx," you're going to be quite disappointed. This is a far more serious and far more dramatic political crime thriller. Jackie Chan still gets to do his ass kicking thing and manages to have some excellent fight sequences with well choreographed, fantastic martial arts action.

Much of the story, however, focuses on Pierce Brosnan and the politics behind the bombing and the subsequent investigation to find the culprits. It also delves into an exploration of the former IRA and the power struggle within it regarding the future of the organization. We as an audience know right away who most of the bombers are, but the mystery aspect comes from uncovering who is pulling the strings behind the scenes, who is actively involved, and what their motivations are for doing so. The story is mostly engaging and we empathize with Quan and his quest as we wonder who is at fault and who is trustworthy. It's great to see Jackie Chan doing a more serious role such as this. He wears the pain of his past on his face, and losing his daughter in this tragic bombing is his final straw. Pierce Brosnan is also good, though he seems to be using an over-exaggerated Irish accent despite the fact that he himself is Irish. It's actually kind of painful at times to hear his over the top cadence.

As for flaws, the movie does drag quite a bit in one or two places. We usually don't mention things about movie scores, but the odd techno-synth score doesn't fit the tone of the movie and took us out of the film at times. Overall, "The Foreigner" is interesting and keeps us invested in the story. Jackie Chan is excellent, Pierce Brosnan is good, and it is a very solid thriller that we enjoyed.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~59%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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