Sometimes you walk into a film begrudgingly, with a certain sense of dread of what could be in store for the next two-odd hours. While I was lucky enough to have avoided the epitome of mediocrity that was ‘The Emoji Movie’, I had that same sense of gut-wrenching apprehension walking into ‘The Foreigner’. The trailer alone had made my skin crawl, with its ‘Taken’ ripoff vibes and garish insensitivities. However, sometimes these films surprise you; they defy your expectations and far surpass your (albeit low) expectations. Unfortunately, ‘The Foreigner’ was not one of those films.
Jackie Chan plays loving father Quan, who loses his daughter to a terror attack in London. He also turns out to be the world’s greatest super-soldier trained by the U.S. during the Vietnam War, and so, inconsolable and irate, he takes his anger out on anyone who comes his way, whether they had anything to do with his daughter’s death or not. The ensuing 114 minutes results in a body count that would make Arnie weep, as this 63-year-old man manages to take out the bulk of Ireland’s bodyguards, trackers, special ops forces and a terrorist cell.
This film does start out well, setting itself up as an enjoyable thriller, and we actually get to see some real emotion from Chan. But that all gets thrown out the window the moment he meets British government official and former IRA leader, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan). Quan irrationally focuses his target on Hennessy, and chooses to fight terrorism with terrorism to uncover who was behind the bombing.
The film was adapted from a 1992 book by Stephen Leather called ‘The Chinaman’ - which seems an out-of-date term to use even in the 90s. While the film’s title may have gotten an overhaul, the number of times Jackie Chan’s character is referred to that way is completely inexcusable for a film released in 2017.
This 63-year-old man manages to take out the bulk of Ireland’s bodyguards, trackers, special ops forces and a terrorist cell.
Acting never escalates past adequate - besides Chan’s fleeting moments of emotion, he plays a character that could have stepped out of any of his action films. Pierce Brosnan is earnest as Hennessy, which sometimes rings true and sometimes comes off as ridiculous and overdramatic. Martin Campbell’s direction is entirely unexceptional, with no fight sequences that stand out from the rest, or jaw-dropping moments to keep you in awe.
‘The Foreigner’ is a bit like if Liam Neeson and Jackie Chan’s filmographies had a baby, and then Liam Neeson walked out because it was too much for even him to handle. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a deep thriller or a full-on action film, and so rather than choosing one, it just flops around like a wet fish on the floor. This is only just bearable as a piece of forgettable entertainment. If you’re like me, you’ll be begging for the death blow to come.
|Shina Shihoko Nagai|
|Jorge Leon Martinez|