“The story and performances were engaging, the action was exhilarating, and it was great to see Jackie Chan kicking ass again.”
Last night I saw The Foreigner and it was everything I hoped it could be. For those who don’t know, The Foreigner is a movie about Quan Ngoc Minh, a man whose daughter was killed in a terrorist attack on a bank. Looking for answers, Quan decides to contact the Irish deputy minister Liam Hennessy, whom Quan believes to know the identities of the bombers.
The main reason The Foreigner was on my radar at all was because Jackie Chan is back! Well, he hasn’t really gone anywhere, looking at his IMDB page will show you that he’s been pretty active throughout the past couple of years, but I’m talking about him being back in action movies that are released to the general public. Obviously The Foreigner knew exactly what we wanted (Jackie Chan kicking ass), and it delivered that in spades. Despite being 63 years of age, Jackie Chan is still able to float around the room kicking dudes in the face as though it was the 90’s. This may seem little unrealistic in the film, but who gives a shit? It was entertaining, so I liked it. Another thing that I really liked about The Foreigner was the fact that it was unlike the kind of movie that you would usually see Jackie Chan in. Sure it was an a action film, but it was more on the serious side of things than the ‘action-comedy’ side that Chan is used to. This was great because it kind of gave Jackie Chan new life, allowing him to once again flex his acting muscles as well as his ass-kicking muscles. I felt that Chan absolutely nailed his performance as Quan Ngoc Minh, a grieving father who was out for vengeance, and the shift in tone is in line with most of Jackie Chan’s fans who have since grown up.
I also found it interesting that the plot of The Foreigner kept things fresh by kind of flipping the script in a few ways. We are introduced to our ‘good guy’ who is looking for answers, and our ‘bad guy’ who apparently has said answers. The only difference is the ‘bad guy’ isn’t so bad (he does nothing to suggest he is actually bad throughout the film), and the ‘good guy’ is technically harassing and threatening this seemingly innocent man. This was interesting because it set up this kind of anti-hero thing where you were cheering for Chan’s character, but at the same time a little unsure of his motives. And this allowed the film, which as I mentioned played everything a bit more serious, to not get too bogged down in the muck. It played the plot straight, but it didn’t take itself too seriously which is a real problem for films like this. I also really appreciated that The Foreigner had very little bullshit; all plot coming at a steady pace with a healthy dose of ass-kicking thrown in. I was never bored when watching The Foreigner even though some of the scenes were a little plot-heavy. The one issue I had was that the ending went on a little long for my tastes, but it wasn’t enough for me dock points. As far as the other performances in the film go, I found everyone to be great. There were no oscar-winners in their ranks, but who cares? Everyone delivered serviceable performances that never took me out of the film, and allowed for some real intense moments when the script called for it.
Overall The Foreigner is a great action movie. Don’t go into it expecting it to change your life and you should enjoy yourself. The story and performances were engaging, the action was exhilarating, and it was great to see Jackie Chan kicking ass again. If you have two hours to kill check out The Foreigner, you won’t regret it.
I give The Foreigner an A