Wednesday 27 September 2023

The Foreigner - 2017 film review

The Foreigner is an entertaining revenge thriller that was released in 2017 to considerable acclaim. The fact that the cast is led by the perhaps unlikely combination of Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan makes it interesting, but there's more to the film (script by David Marconi, source material a novel by Stephen Leather) than that. It's fair to say that the acclaim wasn't universal - a review on the usually insightful Roger Ebert website calls it 'an all-round lousy movie', but don't take too much notice of that, since the critical acumen of the reviewer, who is plainly not the late Roger Ebert, can be judged by the fact that he regards Brosnan's Irish accent as 'atrocious'. Oh dear. 

Anyway, Chan plays a chap called Quan, who is leading a quiet life in London when his daughter is murdered in a terrorist incident. He determines to find out who is responsible and mete out his own kind of justice. So far, so very straightforward, but the story gains depth from the way in which Quan targets Brosnan's character, Liam Hennessey. 

Hennessey, who bears a disconcerting resemblance to a prominent Irish politician in reality, is presented as a dodgy character, in his personal life as well as in his political machinations. He is emphatically not responsible for the attack which killed Quan's daughter, but Quan is right to believe that such an influential figure is bound to know where, to coin a phrase, the bodies are buried.

The political dimensions to the story don't get in the way of the action, which is effectively done, but not over-done. Jackie Chan's age makes him an unlikely action man, but he gives a good performance and the implausibilities of the story are addressed quite well in the script, with the tension maintained to the end. I enjoyed it and so, it should be said, did a large majority of the reviewers.

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