Plot: After his daughter is killed in a terrorist attack, Quan (Jackie Chan) is devastated and unable to function. All he can think about is the loss, it overpowers him and drives him to find answers. He goes to the police station each day, to ask about new leads and even offers a huge cash reward for the names of those involved. But he is told to go home and leave the investigation to the police, though of course, he is unable to do that. When he learns a rogue IRA group claimed responsibility for the attack, Quan reaches out to Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), the deputy prime minister who happens to have ties to old school IRA. But Liam turns him away, even when Quan shows up in person and demands answers. Liam sees the old man, broken and sad, and dismisses him, at least until an explosion rocks his office complex. Now it becomes clear that Quan is no simple old man and if he doesn’t get names, things will only escalate. But can Quan stand up to an entire government organization, a politically connected rogue squad, and trained trackers?
Entertainment Value: This film’s marketing campaign was built around Jackie Chan and he does have a prominent role in The Foreigner, but he is one part of a much larger plot that unfolds. In addition to his one man justice spree, the movie deals with political intrigue and interpersonal relationships within powerful organizations. So if you want wall to wall Jackie Chan, the movie won’t deliver that, but he does have a good amount of screen time and steals the show. Chan might be older and slower, but he still knows how to entertain and flexes his dramatic chops here. His scene prove to be the heart of the movie and the highlights, as The Foreigner tends to slow down and drift when the focus shifts from his narrative. Pierce Brosnan is fine in a rather nondescript politico role that he performs well, but the character just isn’t that interesting. The same can be said for the entire narrative around the IRA situation, it is serviceable, but fails to be much beyond filler. The writers throw in as many twists and turns as possible, but it simply doesn’t work. But just when things grind to a halt, Chan returns and the movie picks back up once again. I wish this was a shorter movie that cut most of the IRA exposition, as then it could pack more of a punch. As it stands, it runs long and feels dull at times, saved only by Chan’s appearances. Despite the uneven pace and lackluster IRA angle, Chan alone is worth seeing The Foreigner for, so it is recommended.
No nakedness. Some sex scenes, but things remain covered. There is an odd aunt/nephew sexual rendezvous, which is humorous to me, but again, shows no skin. A little CGI blood from gun shots, but not much bloodshed overall. A few scrapes, bruises, and other fight related injuries crop up, however. The action scenes are fun to watch, with perhaps slower pace battles than Chan’s glory days, but he plays the battle-worn warrior so well here, it doesn’t matter. Fun stunts, fun fights, I just wish Chan was given more screen time over the subpar political exposition. The dialogue is passable, with mild racial overtones toward Chan’s ethnic heritage, Brosnan chewing scenes, and a lot of dull, tired political lingo. A few moments of humor creep in, but often from Chan’s physical comedy, not written lines. I’ll score a one for some of the effective dialogue, but otherwise, this one is basic, but unmemorable. In terms of craziness, the movie takes a serious tone and doesn’t budge from that. The action is also more grounded, so no wildness on any front in this one.
Overall Insanity: 0/10