You can only push a good man so far- I’m giving The Foreigner an A-.
Quan (played by Jackie Chan) longs to see his last remaining daughter wearing the dress of her dreams at her school dance but when a younger IRA group bombs the nearby bank, his daughter, along with a dozen other innocents are killed. Quan has lost all his family. His wife in childbirth. His two other daughters to Thai pirates. He has nothing remaining but his vengeance.
Liam Hennessey (played by Pierce Brosnan) has been on the honest edge of his dealings with the IRA for many years, serving as a British official although he’s not as clean as he seems. Family means something to both men and they will fight for their beliefs. But when Liam won’t give Quan the names for his vengeance, Quan will stop at nothing, even bombing Liam’s own home to get what he wants.
Two stories intertwine in the movie. Liam’s story and Quan’s. Each is compelling and not without passion and determination. It’s the complexity of these two families against an act of terrorism and politics which tell the whole story. I enjoyed that it was a twist with the IRA and not ISIS as the bad guys in this movie, however, I felt the ending left it too open. I wanted Liam to be a stronger man.
Chan has aged. It shows in the extra lines along his face but not in his moves. He retains the moves and easily takes out men half his age, even going against more than one at a time. But it’s his expressive face which tells the heartbreak of losing a child, the frustration of not getting the vengeance you seek and the pain of age and wounds on the body and soul.
Jackie Chan also produced this movie which is based on a book, The Chinaman by Stephen Leather, “one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers”. The supporting cast fills out the movie storyline but Pierce and Jackie carry the story on their shoulders. Certainly one to see whether at the movies or on DVD.
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