The new action-heavy Jackie Chan movie is more somber and violent than his earlier pictures. The subject is terrorism. Pierce Brosnan co-stars. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
Among the chief influences on Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong movies are Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and the acrobatic 1952 MGM musical “Singin’ in the Rain.” Most of them suggest a rollicking, rhythmic sense of life that’s reflected in Chan’s commitment to doing his own outrageous stunts.
The new Chan movie, “The Foreigner,” is more somber and violent than most of his earlier pictures. It’s an action-heavy, English-language, Hong Kong-style drama set largely in London and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The subject is terrorism.
Movie Review ★★★
‘The Foreigner,’ with Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Katie Leung. Directed by Martin Campbell, from a screenplay by David Marconi, based on a novel by Stephen Leather. 114 minutes. Rated R for violence, language and some sexual material. Several theaters.
Chan plays a London restaurant owner in his 60s who is radicalized when his teenage daughter is killed in a bombing by an off-the-radar organization calling itself “the authentic IRA.” Hell hath no fury like an angry Chan.
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Based on a novel by Stephen Leather, David Marconi’s script invents a series of tests of will, mostly aimed at a Northern Irish official played by Pierce Brosnan.
Both actors excel here in very different roles. Chan becomes almost nerdy, blending into the background until he’s ready to unleash his latest vendetta. Brosnan seems silky smooth, but his character is in for major challenges and he’s constantly overestimating his own effectiveness.
The MPAA has assigned “The Foreigner” an “R” rating, partly because of “some sexual material” that’s anything but gratuitous. In a film that’s constantly teasing with its narrative twists, this is a big one.
The director is Martin Campbell, who rebooted the James Bond series with “Casino Royale” and directed such underrated genre pictures as “Edge of Darkness” and “The Mask of Zorro.” He’s a master at rejuvenating tired warhorses, and he pulls it off again with this one.