Movie Review: All Thrills from The Foreigner

Movie Review: All Thrills from The Foreigner
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville nearly 20 years. Currently, he studies Journalism at Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Jackie Chan doesn’t get nearly enough credit for just how truly talented a performer he is. If you’re looking for the latest evidence, look no further than The Foreigner, his latest action epic now delightfully surprising and exciting audiences on the silver screen.

Chan has been working in Hollywood as a stuntman, action star and dramatic talent nearly forty years, and his presence only grows in confidence and intrigue as he continues to work in movies. His talent as a comedian, fighter, and character actor all influence his performance here with great style and success.

The Foreigner is based on the 2003 novel The Chinaman, and swiftly directed by Martin Campbell (known to most for 2006’s bond saga Casino Royale.) Campbell uses the same story structure and cat-and-mouse motif here to create a suspenseful and exciting hunter and hunted story.

Navy SEAL-turned London restaurateur Ngoc Minh Quan (Chan) is mourning the loss of his teenage daughter in a politically-motivated bombing. When the police can’t track down the culprits, Quan begins following violent government official Liam Hennessy (a terrifying Pierce Brosnan,) demanding the names of those responsible.

The most successful scenes in the film are those that capture the same energy and creativity of Chan’s long history of work in action films. Even at age 63, he’s moving with precision and grace fighting the bad guys – even keeping them in check. And hats off to the make-team and their restraint – it’s artful with our ever being too gory.

Photo: STX Entertainment.

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For the first 30 minutes, the pacing is slow and focuses too heavily on Brosnan’s character of the is-he-or-isn’t-he corrupt politician. Following the film’s first act, the suspenseful hunt of Quan to Hennessy becomes far more compelling.

The concept, nor “old man with a vendetta” idea is nowhere near revelatory. But the casting of Chan does say something about the destructive power of xenophobia, just as Brosnan’s talks about that same power in Irish politics. Both infuse the story with a powerful freshness that makes a familiar structure feel genuinely exciting.

True talents often go unappreciated, and it’s thrilling to see Chan still working with such purpose on screen. Maybe The Foreigner is as engaging as it is because it’s a modest production that isn’t trying to be more grand or elaborate than it is. Not everybody can be the Avengers saving the world.

In this case, Ngoc Minh Quan saving London is more than enough for a great night at the movies. The culture clash is anything but jarring – it’s a solid night of entertainment for the adults looking to get their action fix.

The Foreigner
3 out of 4 stars

14A, 113 minutes. Action Thriller.
Directed by Martin Campbell.
Starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan.
Now Playing at Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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