Sunday, 2 February 2020

Movie review: The Foreigner, dir Martin Campbell (2017)

This fascinating action thriller stars Jackie Chan as Quan Ngoc Minh (surname “Quan”), a Chinese restaurant owner who at an earlier stage in his life was trained by US Special Forces. Quan’s three daughters have been killed: two by Thai pirates when the family was escaping Vietnam in the 1970s, and one, the youngest, by the IRA in London in the present day of the film. Quan’s quest is to find the killers of his youngest daughter.

To do this, he contacts Liam Hennessey (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member who is now a state functionary in Northern Ireland. Hennessey at first puts Quan off, saying he doesn’t know who orchestrated and carried out the bombing, but Quan carries out a series of attacks of his own in order to find out the identities of the killers.

That’s all I’ll say out of fear of giving away too much. Suffice it to say, Quan is a compelling action hero. I found the ideas motivating this movie – specifically, the relations between parent and child – to be credible and the story to be satisfying if predictable. I’ve seen other action flics where the hero is an old man (‘Red 2’, starring Bruce Willis, is also reviewed on this blog) but ‘The Foreigner’ involves a large number of fight scenes Chan performs.

From the point of view offered by the themes the movie retails in, you are confronted by an array of emotions while watching it. You are also made to look at history and how that worked out for the Chinese and for the British. This kind of subject makes you think of the future. I give this Netflix-available movie four stars because parts of the story are unclear.

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