Review: THE FOREIGNER (2017) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Review: THE FOREIGNER (2017)

Quan (Jackie Chan) is ready to take down his enemies in THE FOREIGNER (2017)

When his teenage daughter (Katie Leung) is killed in a terrorist bombing, Quan (Jackie Chan) is taking matters into his own hands. Soon, he begins to suspect that British high-ranking government official Liam (Pierce Brosnan) has to do with his daughter's death.

REVIEW: The last time Jackie Chan portrayed a dead-serious role was POLICE STORY 2013 (2013), a half-baked attempt to revive his signature POLICE STORY franchise. Although the 63-year-old martial arts actor remains better known for his unique brand of action comedy, he is no slouch either when he requires to brood a lot and resorts to physical violence.

Quan (Jackie Chan) and Liam (Pierce Brosnan) encounter face-to-face in THE FOREIGNER (2017)

In THE FOREIGNER, it's nice to see him take a break from his usual comedy role (read: KUNG FU YOGA) in favour for a more no-nonsense persona. If you watch the trailer, it sure looks like a revenge thriller. Besides, the story is supposed to be about Jackie Chan's character (Quan) who seeks vengeance against the people responsible for his daughter's death following a terrorist bombing. To make things more interesting, Quan is more than just a regular person who operates a restaurant. He also happens to be an ex-Special Forces who knows a lot about making homemade bombs and possesses a few of weaponry and hand-to-hand combat skills. Now, if the movie plays it straight as it should be in a classic revenge-thriller mould, THE FOREIGNER would have been a potential action classic.

However, screenwriter David Marconi (1998's ENEMY OF THE STATE) who adapted the movie from Stephen Leather's 1992 novel The Chinaman, tries to have it both ways. By both ways, THE FOREIGNER tries hard to be a revenge thriller and also a political thriller that largely focused on Pierce Brosnan's shady role as a British high-ranking government official. Although Brosnan's performance is engaging, the story itself -- which involves terrorism, corruption, conspiracy and whatnot -- is too weighty for its own good.

Pierce Brosnan as the British high-ranking government official, Liam in THE FOREIGNER (2017)

Then there's Jackie Chan. He may receive the first billing but the movie made him like an odd supporting player instead. It's like as if director Martin Campbell simply included him for the sake to live up the otherwise moody and dialogue-heavy pace. Still, judging by his performance alone, Chan's vengeful role as Quan is competent enough. During the fight sequences, he certainly means business while his signature acrobatic stunts are thankfully reduced for a more brutal hand-to-hand combat technique. The movie isn't exactly an action-packed type but when they do arrive, the fight sequences are tensely executed and crisply edited by Angela M. Catanzaro. No doubt that the action remains Campbell's biggest forte here.

Despite some shortcomings, THE FOREIGNER remains a decent return to form by Jackie Chan.

THE FOREIGNER marks a decent return to form by Jackie Chan, complete with a fair share of brutal fight scenes, even though the movie suffers from a heavy-handed screenplay.

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