On the surface, The Foreigner promises to be Jackie Chan’s return to large scale action thrillers, and for what it’s worth, the film succeeds in that regard. What most audience members might not be expecting, though, is for the film to also be a strange combination between a Taken-esque revenge story and a convoluted political thriller involving the British government and a new faction of angry, young IRA terrorists. Those two storylines should not be able to exist in the same film, which makes it a testament to how much The Foreigner gets right, that the two very different plots manage to combine together as well as they do.
It doesn’t hurt that director Martin Campbell has placed two capable acting veterans at the forefront of the film, in Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. Both actors are tasked with inhabiting roles that are antithetical to the on screen personas they’re most well-known for. Brosnan, for his part, trades in his suave, Bond-like heroic swagger to play a corrupt politician who often closely resembles a mob boss, while Chan turns in a grim and quiet performance, directly contrary to the comedic roles most American audiences associate him with.
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