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The story of humble London businessman Quan (Chan), whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love - his teenage daughter - is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism. In his relentless search for the identity of the terrorists, Quan is forced into a cat- and-mouse conflict with a British government official (Brosnan), whose own past may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers. Written by
Jackie Chan a legend in the cinematic world for many famous roles many will remember for years to come. With epic Marshal Arts sequences, a sense of comedic delivery and great chemistry with a variety of actors, it is no wonder the man has been involved in so many projects. And after a hiatus, the legend seems to be making a comeback lending his voice to Lego Ninjago and now returning in a live action film the Foreigner. Does the man still have the magic, or was he better left sitting on the sidelines? Robbie K here to review another movie and as always let's get started.
Edgy: The trailers promised Chan would be returning with some sharper, and darker, edges and sure enough they delivered. Mr. Quan is certainly one of the darker roles I've seen him play, as he seeks out his own brand of justice in a manner only a vigilante could. No punches are thrown in this role, and this more intense role is a nice touch to Chan's normal lighter roles. Saying few words, Chan has the look down with sullen wise eyes filled with a hateful, hopeless stare, and scowl that seems permanently fixated in a faithless fury. This darker role was fascinating to watch, primarily to see how far he would go to crush the opposition.
Fairly fast pacing: No surprise here, but the Foreigner moves at a fairly brisk pace, starting out with a literal bang and diving into the search to come. Information is provided in a fairly linear manner so that you get all the answers you need, all the while maximizing the "action" at the same time.
Complete story: Despite the quickened pace, this movie does manage to close all the convoluted loops established in this film. The Foreigner has a lot of dramatic elements integrated into the action that include affairs, conspiracies, and betrayals that feels much like soap opera plot lines. Rather than taking episodes to finish these tales, the writers provided all the answers one needs to be satisfied with the closure. Not saying it's the best closure mind you, but at least it finishes the tale quite well.
Chan's moves: While certainly not the freshest or more convoluted stunts he's ever done, it is satisfying to see Chan still have some of his magic. The Foreigner does a nice job of giving our star chances to show off his acrobatic skills. After leaping around like an old squirrel, Chan next dazzles with his close combat choreographer, still executing his close style fist fights in a smooth dance. And with the new edge, Chan's darker combat is unleashed, losing the feeling of being planned to the adrenaline rush we love to see.
Pierce Brosnan's accent: A minor dislike at best, I couldn't get on board with Brosnan's attempt at sounding Irish. While certainly better than me, the former Bond star has a little more refining to do in order to sell the angry Irish man to me. It was comical at times and took away from the threat he was trying to bring to the table, well that and the fact that he didn't seem to have many skills himself. Sorry Pierce, you've got debonair down, but not the fury of the fiery reds.
Editing: While dramas are sometimes a bit overbearing to me, I could handle most of the character antics in this film. However, the storyboard team dropped the ball a few times for me in how much they crammed into this film. Some of the relationships were not needed, merely extra branches to take up space in attempt to fill up time. While the tangents expand a little on our two lead characters, they could have been left out, or kept in small bits of dialogues instead of full out sequences, especially when it came to the wife scenes. Drama lovers will certainly enjoy this element, but the rest get ready to yawn. Speaking of which
Not as action packed: I thought the Foreigner was going to have more bite with Chan finally emerging from his retirement. Instead of the energy that Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon brought, the Foreigner slowed the pace down a bit. Those extensive bouts of fist punching are brought to a minimum in terms of time, reduced to some covert moves that would make Rambo proud in their pyrotechnic awe. The few bouts we do have maximize the new tone and provide some satisfying stunt work, but for me it paled to the classics I grew up with. Still not a bad display for the aged master, I just would have liked more of that and less drama.
The Foreigner is a great restart to Chan's career giving him a new edge I haven't seen before. It's a film that does its part as an action drama, trying to craft more of a story with the action to support it in the long run. And while the tale is decent, and complete, it's still a bit too slow and drawn out when there could have been more fighting. The result is still entertaining, but with enough drab parts to outweigh the extent of action we got. Chan may still have some moves up his sleeve, but I'll take revisiting the classics any day. Nevertheless, there is enough kick to warrant a theater visit for this one, primarily in regards to those satisfying, climactic fights that occur.
My scores are:
Action/Thriller: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
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