The Foreigner Movie Review
What’s old is new again, sort of. In the movie “The Foreigner”, Jackie Chan is – um – not young, but he can still hold his own against an army of bad guys. And the bad guys are — the IRA? Yes, the defunct Irish Republican Army comes back, but only in cinema, to be the evil doers. And they are led by James B… I mean Pierce Brosnan (who has played Bond in the past). And the movie is directed by Martin Campbell, who has also directed prior Bond movies. So three cheers for the AARP crowd!
In London, a simple noodle shop owner named Quan (Jackie Chan) drops off his beloved daughter at a SOHO dress shop to find a wedding dress. Blink your eyes and will miss the IRA terrorist attack on the street, which destroys the shop. Quan’s daughter is dead. He is heartbroken, but determined to find answers. He finds out about a Northern Ireland deputy minister who is part of the British government. Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) is a long standing politician in Belfast, and he once was a part of the old IRA.
Quan goes to the police and to Scotland Yard, but gets no answers. He decides to try and get the names of the bombers from Hennessy, but he just shrugs him off. “Surely, I don’t have any knowledge of who did this” Hennessy tells Quan. But Quan is determined, persistent and trained by many years in Special Forces Jungle Ops. So Quan knows a thing or two about making a homemade bomb that will rattle the windows and the rattle the deputy minister. Hennessy is put on notice that Quan is not taking no for an answer. Quan does his best ‘Jason Bourne’ to take control of the situation.
Hennessy keeps having major difficulties with his prior IRA contacts, who hate him for giving up. He has problems with his wife (Orla Brady), and also with his mistress (Charlie Murphy) – who might be deeply involved in the terrorist action. He has a problem with his nephew, who is visiting from New York – but still many connections with the old IRA.
But mostly Hennessy has problems with Quan. Hennessy’s office bathroom gets bombed, and then Quan targets his country estate barn and his car. Then Hennessy loses a few men who try and track Quan. He will not give up until he finds the people who killed his daughter…
Jackie Chan is an actor who can use his physical abilities to comedic or dramatic use. He plays an older character than he usually does, and his age does require that. Quan is smart and noble and dedicated, and he can MacGyver his way into gaining the upper hand. Pierce Brosnan also plays a character who attempts to scrape and claw his way into keeping a good thing that he has going. He does not know that his actions have triggered a relentless time bomb called Quan.
“The Foreigner” has the distinction of raising the specter of IRA terrorism in the modern day and age. It might be straight from the original novel, but that was written well before the peace accords in Northern Ireland. Perhaps not since “Patriot Games” has the IRA been cast as a boogeyman. It does not ruin the story, but it really stretches out the plausibility.
This movie will make you want to allow Jackie Chan to overstay his visa any day!
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The Foreigner Review
The Foreigner Summary
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Screenplay by: David Marconi
Based on the novel 'The Chinaman' (by Stephen Leather)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Orla Brady, Charlie Murphy
Length: 112 minutes
MPAA Rating: R, for violence, language and some sexual material
Genre: Action, Adventure, Suspense, Thriller