“The Foreigner” is Fun, but Forgettable

Back to Article
Back to Article

“The Foreigner” is Fun, but Forgettable

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

Trevor Tyle, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Jackie Chan is one of those people who seemingly never ages. At 63 years old, you would think he’d be asking a stuntman to do his stunts or taking a backseat to intense action flicks. Instead, Chan remains remarkably spry. In his new film, “The Foreigner,” he reminds us that he’s still as hardcore as it gets.

Based on Stephen Leather’s novel “The Chinaman,” “The Foreigner” tells the story of Quan (Chan), a man who seeks vengeance following his daughter’s death in a London bombing. When he discovers that Irish government official Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) may hold vital information regarding the bombers’ identities, he begins to press him for answers—regardless of the extremes.

Chan’s role is far more serious than the lighthearted roles with which he is frequently associated. It’s a refreshing change for the actor, who rose to prominence in a variety of martial arts films over his over four decade long career. The role is surprisingly dramatic, though the audience’s empathy towards Quan diminishes once his actions become lethal.

Likewise, Brosnan’s performance is superb. Unfortunately, unlike Chan, Brosnan does not have any action scenes in the film, instead passing off the hard work onto other characters. It’s a bit disappointing, given that Brosnan starred in four James Bond films over the years (two-time Bond director Martin Campbell is at the helm of “The Foreigner”). Despite this, Brosnan still delivers a stirring performance, which makes Chan’s inexplicably limited screen time in the middle of the film a bit more bearable.

The James Bond influence in Campbell’s direction quickly becomes apparent. “The Foreigner” feels like a James Bond and Jason Bourne crossover with lots of background—probably too much, to be honest—and little action. It stands well enough on its own to avoid any plagiarism accusations, but lacks the memorability to join the ranks of these classic thriller franchises.

Perhaps the film’s biggest issue is that it’s a slow burner. There’s a lot of buildup for a seemingly small amount of action sequences, but what audiences do get is well worth the wait. It’s entertaining enough, but it seldom reaches a point where anyone will become emotionally invested in it.

“The Foreigner” is also a bit ridiculous, all things considered. When Hennessy refuses to disclose the identities of the bombers, Quan decides to take matters into his own hands and plants a series of homemade bombs near Hennessy to scare him into talking. If anyone other than Chan played this character, the extent to which he goes for this information would be beyond belief, even given his character’s motives. To make matters worse Hennessy’s nephew, Sean (Rory Fleck Byrne) has an affair with his aunt Mary (Orla Brady). Hennessy also has a mistress, so needless to say the incestual affair is just one of the many issues this family has.

Overall, “The Foreigner” is decent, but nothing special. It serves its purpose as an entertaining action thriller, but is easily forgettable in a seemingly endless list of similar films.

At least Chan still rocked it.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars