LATE TO THE PARTY: “THE FOREIGNER”
BEWARE THE “CHINAMAN”
RUNTIME: 113 MINUTES
WATCH: Now on Netflix
Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan) is a retired Vietnam War special ops soldier living in London with his teenage daughter. Approaching her prom date, Quan takes his daughter dress shopping, only for the boutique to be destroyed by a terrorist bombing. The bombing is claimed by a group calling themselves “The Authentic IRA” and when traditional police work fails, Quan takes matters into his own hands.
The Foreigner is like Taken but with a better plot. Chan’s acting is spot on considering his age and the role. A worn down former special ops soldier would only grieve for a short period of time before gearing up for revenge. Being a former soldier, Quan does take the time to allow the authorities to do their jobs, but as viewers continue down the film, they realize that Quan had his mind set on revenge from the jump. Chan’s age plays into the role of Quan through merciful acts and vulnerability. Quan refuses to kill anyone that can match his skill or is ignorant of the overall plot. Quan’s age also adds to the severity of his broken heart and provides a weakness for his opponents to exploit. Quan cannot function at 100% for as long as he used to, which limits the number of action sequences. Less action sequences means the quality of the action is enhanced.
Despite an overall even pacing throughout, The Foreigner still feels like a quick film. Quan barely grieves, barely investigates government officials for answers before just taking making into his own hands. The execution of the plot is shaky as each scene flows as if someone was jamming puzzle pieces together. Quan’s quest for vengeance ends up as a sub-plot in a conspiracy revolving the actual IRA. The film could work as two separate films, one revolving around Quan and one regarding an IRA conspiracy; thus the weird pacing. There also isn’t much in the way of surprises or speculation. A lot of the film is easily telegraphed and refuses to throw any surprises at you.
The Foreigner is actually based on the novel called The Chinaman. The film actually does a decent job as an adaptation but unless viewers have read the novel, The Foreigner doesn’t really stand out in any particular way. Jackie Chan is a national treasure and if it weren’t for him, the film would just be a Taken knockoff. The Foreigner gets a solid B.