The Foreigner showcases the battle of a distressed soldier against government authorities who are in the know about the culprits who killed his daughter in a bombing. Based on Stephen Leather’s novel, The Chinaman, the film is a political thriller with a complicated revenge story. It’s not often that you get a film which has two different plots, but director Martin Campbell succeeds in integrating both. It’s exciting to see how each story affects the other.
Jackie Chan plays a London immigrant, Ngoc Minh Quan, who is shaken by the killing of his daughter in an IRA terrorist bombing. For a man who has faced many atrocities in the past, this is a particularly tormenting phase in his life. Seething with revenge, Quan is on a mission to track down the perpetrators and crosses paths with Liam Hennessey (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member-turned-government official. As they began to track the killers of the bombing, their pasts interweave into the present, with an enraged Quan pulling Hennessey into further complications.
Martin Campbell, who earlier helmed two James Bond films – GoldenEye and Casino Royale — goes against the grain and gives a complete makeover for his protagonist, played by Jackie Chan. This time, he isn’t focused so much on stunts as he is on his acting. This is a new territory for Chan and he shows many variations as Quan.
Brosnan’s role though, is one he has played many times before. As the agent, he looks suave and retains his Bond-like swag. Orla Brady, who plays Brosnan’s wife, Mary, impresses with her restrained performance.
The Chinaman was written in 1992, and David Marconi’s adaptation of the script to the present day is innovative. However, occasionally, too many characters come into the picture. But Martin Campbell knows his story well and turns the narrative into an engaging fare.
The Foreigner is an enjoyable mix of political and revenge elements. Despite a lengthy running time, the pulsating action sequences keep you going.