A Chinese immigrant loses his daughter in an IRA bombing and embarks
on a one-man war against the politician he believes may be involved.
The Foreigner (2017)
Directed by Martin Campbell
Written by David Marconi
Starring Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Michael McElhatton,
Dermot Crowley, Orla Brady, Rory Fleck Byrne,
Charlie Murphy, Lia Williams, Rufus Jones, Ray Fearon
Based on the novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather
The Foreigner is not as trite as the trailer made it seem. It features two powerhouse performances from Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, both playing characters way outside their norm. It's a film that focuses on a kind of terrorism not often seen cinematically. People forget that the IRA is a real terrorist threat responsible for countless bombings in the United Kingdom over decades. The Foreigner uses this as a backdrop for a truly sad story about a father losing the last family he has, and the lengths to which he'll go to see justice done. It's a far cry from anything Jackie Chan has done before and will be remembered as one of his standouts.
Chan plays Quan Ngoc Minh, a Chinese immigrant living in London who tragically loses his only daughter in an IRA bombing. Consumed with vengeance, Quan focuses his rage on Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy (Brosnan), an ex-IRA member and current politician who Quan believes is connected to the bombing. His war against Hennessy is reminiscent of John Wick, with Quan threatening every aspect of Hennessy's life until he names the bombers responsible. The action sequences are exciting and realistic, the drama is well-earned, and Chan's performance as a broken father with nothing left to live for is raw and unforgettable. On the opposite end of that, Brosnan's performance as a double-dealing politician is one for the books as well.
I enjoyed The Foreigner, particularly because I didn't expect it to be so layered. All of the characters are pretty gray, with even the most heroic committing questionable acts in the name of what they believe to be the greater good. The film was overlooked back in 2017 but I believe it's worth checking out for fans of Chan's work and anybody in the mood for a good story.