Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan go head to head in the action-packed, twisted movie, The Foreigner. Jackie Chan plays Ngoc Quan, an immigrant and British citizen from China who seeks out revenge after his teenage daughter is killed in an explosion.
The movie begins with Quan picking up his daughter (played by Katie Leung) from school. Their lives seem normal and her biggest problem is getting the perfect dress for the school dance. Quan drops her off and watches her walk into the store. A couple of seconds later someone blows up the shop, injuring and killing dozens of people. Amongst the deceased is his daughter. Before moving to England, Quan’s wife and other two daughters were kidnapped and murdered by Thai pirates. She was the only family member he had left.
The story comes off as a little cliché, but it takes a slightly different direction than expected. Quan goes straight to the government instead of going after the killers initially. The “Authentic IRA (Irish Republican Army),” claims the attack. Liam Hennessey (portrayed by Pierce Brosnan) is the Irish Deputy Minister and has ties to the Authentic IRA. Quan makes multiple attempts to contact him in order to find the people that killed his daughter. Hennessey does not follow through with giving Quan the names of the terrorists. Quan retaliates and blows up part of his office. The rest of the movie is an exciting, chaotic game of cat and mouse with Quan always being one step ahead of Hennessey and his team.
As always, Chan puts on a stellar show in every action scene. At first, he is portrayed as an old man in his 60s who has lost everything, yet he can fight better than any of his opponents. As the movie goes on, it is revealed that Quan knows all these skills because he served in special forces in the Vietnam War. However, the excitement and high energy cannot quite mask that the entire story has too many side plots that take away from the main purpose. Affairs, incest, and messy politics to name a few.
Once Hennessey discovers who set off the bomb, he gives the names to Quan. Quan then finds and attacks them within two minutes of the 114-minute movie. The ending is rushed and loses believability when the British government decides not to punish Quan for injuring government officials and setting off multiple bombs.
In conclusion, the storyline is very disorganized, but Jackie Chan puts on a high energy and surprisingly emotional performance. This movie really comes down to genre preference. If action is not your forte stray away, however, if it is The Foreigner is a must see.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Raphael, STX Entertainment