reflection

Solid writing and great direction are why this film flourishes. While Jackie Chan certainly shows a side of his acting skills that many have never seen, the cinematography leaves much to be desired.
Acting
Writing
Direction
Cinematography
Production Design

‘The Foreigner’ Review: Solid Writing And Great Direction Allow Chan To Flourish

David Marconi’s balanced storyline and strong performances make The Foreigner a must see.

Summary

Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan), is a father living in London whose world shatters when an IRA bombing tragically kills his last living child. Quan has already suffered a great deal heartache, but over the years he’s developed an exceptional set of skills (sound familiar?). He wants answers and is prepared to do anything to get them. It eventually comes to light that Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a British deputy minister who was once a member of the IRA, might have an idea who committed this act. Quan begins to apply pressure just as things are getting much worse for Hennessy. At this point, he has nothing to lose, and Quan’s only goal is revenge.

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What Worked

Marconi did a lovely job adapting Stephen Leather’s novel ‘The Chinaman’ for the big screen. He strikes an appropriate balance between the source material and a storyline involving political betrayal. For a movie which appeared just to be another Jackie Chan flick, it indeed struck a different tone.

Director Martin Campbell presented the world with a side of Chan which we’ve never seen before. Usually, audiences are accustomed to seeing Chan engaged in eye-popping stunts while chasing down the bad guys. Occasionally we have even seen him flourish in a comedic role. In The Foreigner, one of the worlds greatest action stars proves he’s just as good in a dramatic role. His character is extremely reserved and not nearly the typical part we are accustomed to seeing from Chan.

Loved the action sequences when Quan is hiding out at Hennessy’s farm. Instead of seeing Chan just kung-fu his way out of every situation, he played the aggressor blowing up various building and cars just to get his attention.

Orla Murphy plays Brosnan’s wife and does outstanding work. While she put up this loyal front to Mr. Hennessy, in reality, she’s the reason these bombings have been successful. Easily one of the best performances in ‘The Foreigner.’

What Didn’t Work

The Cinematography was very basic and didn’t take advantage during the films most important action sequences. Instead of sticking with a two-shot when Hennesy’s henchmen attacked him in the boarding house, they should have gone with one continuous shot. This would have allowed for more flow during these action sequences.

Brosnan’s portrayal of the embattled deputy minister went from being entertaining to slightly annoying quickly. His character spends most of the time complaining about Quan, Ireland, and not knowing the identity of the bombers. What initially came across as a reasonably good accent from Brosnan became more of a growl as it slipped between English and Irish. At times, it was as if we were watching an Irish version of Grumpy Old Men.

Overall

The Foreigner is a film which will make Chan’s fans very pleased. Don’t expect the movie to draw many new fans but those who take a chance on it won’t be disappointed. If the choices are between ‘Marshall’ and ‘The Foreigner,’ pick the one where the main character cauterizes his gunshot wound.

Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.

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Solid writing and great direction are why this film flourishes. While Jackie Chan certainly shows a side of his acting skills that many have never seen, the cinematography leaves much to be desired. 'The Foreigner' Review: Solid Writing And Great Direction Allow Chan To Flourish