The Foreigner is an action thriller revenge drama. Or in other words, it is a film with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan fighting each other. In typical Hollywood action formula, there are bombs and explosions, guns and knives, violence and bloodshed, and some mild attempt at political intrigue.
The Foreigner is based on the book The Chinaman by Stephen Leather, and is produced by Jackie Chan, Wayne Godfrey, and others, on a screenplay adapted from the book by David Marconi. The film is directed by Martin Campbell.
Ngoc Quan (Jackie Chan) lives in London with his daughter, and runs a small Chinese restaurant. Quan is also a former soldier with special training in close combat, but has long put it behind him to be a normal, boring father.
A bomb targeted at a bank goes off in central London, which also kills a number of innocent people, among them is Quan’s daughter. Quan himself is hurt by the blast. A group of breakaway Irish terrorists claim responsibility for the bomb, and so now Quan has his mission. Find the people who killed his daughter.
Meanwhile, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a former member of the same terrorist group, but now a middle aged politician who is trying to bring peace between the British and the Irish, is tasked with the job of finding out why his former terror group has suddenly become active, and to identify the bombers.
Quan zeroes in on Liam as the person who can give him all the answers. So Quan – whose past training has now kicked into place – lands up in Belfast, Northern Ireland and goes after Liam. But it appears Liam has truly put his revolutionary days behind him as he works with the British government in Northern Ireland to try and find the bombers. Quan isn’t buying.
Quan sets off bombs and explosions all around Liam, slowly driving him out of Belfast to an isolated farm where he brings in armed bodyguards for his protection. Liam also calls in his nephew Sean Morrison (Rory Byrne) to help with tracking Quan down. Sean also has another task: Liaise with the Scotland Yard and in particular the lead police investigator Bromley.
More bombs go off, Liam’s plan to catch the terrorists fail, Sean seems to have an affair with Liam’s wife Mary, while Mary herself seems to have her sympathies elsewhere, Liam’s mistress is involved, Quan shoots, maims, kills, and severely depletes Liam’s security team, the police close in on the terrorists, politicians pull their strings and chains, and we come to a climax where Quan single-handedly kung-fus the terrorists and kills them.
Pierce Brosnan seems to have found a great gig since his James Bond days, playing a bad man. There was After The Sunset, in which Brosnan was a master thief. Not exactly bad, but definitely on the “wrong” side of law. There was Survivor, in which he is an assassin for hire, taking down the US Embassy employees. And now The Foreigner.
It suits him. This blurring of lines between good and bad, this dark shade to a man who has mostly played the keeper of law or the protector of order.
But then all this is overshadowed by Jackie Chan. As the father of a young girl, as a grieving man, as a man sworn in revenge, Chan carries the film through. When he is fighting Liam’s men, when he is stealthily moving through forests, when chasing down and fighting a man half his age… Jackie Chan as Quan is why this film holds up.
The Foreigner review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.