I love Jackie Chan's body of work. From his serious roles (like Police Story 2013), to his comedy roles (like Shanghai Noon), to his "I know this is going to be awful but I'll watch anyways" roles (Kung Fu Yoga...), I've seen most every one of his films. I feel like his movies are always entertaining choices if I'm looking for some good action and I've yet to be let down. When I saw that he was going to star in a serious thriller opposite Pierce Brosnan, I knew I'd be seeing the film in the theatre. Let's be honest here - he doesn't get a lot of North American theatrical releases for whatever reason. That The Foreigner got such a wide release was great because I think the west needs a little more Jackie Chan in its rotation.
The Foreigner is based off a book but I didn't know that until the end credits. I went into the movie knowing what I'd gleaned from the trailer. Basically, Chan plays a guy whose daughter gets killed in an explosion. A rogue branch of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) takes credit for the explosion and Chan goes on a one-man hunt for the people that killed his kid after going through legal channels comes up short. The search leads him to Brosnan's character, a now minister with the Irish government and a former high-up in the IRA. I guess that's pretty much the entire basis of the movie. Even though I was able to get all that from one trailer, I never felt like my experience in the theatre was cheapened. The trailer showed the movie as being a thriller and only subtly hinted at Jackie Chan doing his trademark fighting. Well, he did some great fighting and it was a bit more "raw" and at points he used "MacGyver" type trickery to get the upper hand against his foes.
Actually seeing the film revealed some plot twists, character developments, and obviously some great stunt work. As things moved on, more twists were revealed and the audience ended up with a web of deceit and lies that Chan had to fight his way through. The delivery of the twists was done well and it never felt too heavy-handed or unnecessary except at the end when it seemed like the audience was given multiple "wrap-up" scenes to tie up the loose ends. I know there were a lot of things going on and it wouldn't be great if they were left open, so this was expected. I don't fault the movie for it at all.
Jackie Chan is great as always. In this film, I found him to be acting far more aged than he really is. He looked haggard and worn-down the entire film which played a good juxtaposition to his spry and acrobatic stunts. With it being a serious film, there was no trademark Chan slapstick either. Again, good departure from his usual roles. Pierce Brosnan's character was pretty well done but I have to call out the accent he chose to use in the film. It sounded at times like an Irish parody and it was a bit comedic. Otherwise, he was fine. Actually, at one point Brosnan's character does suggest that even a hundred trained IRA goons wouldn't be enough to stop Chan. He's probably right.
So yeah, it was a pretty good film. Again, the west needs more Jackie Chan in its diet. I guess Rush Hour 4 is finally moving ahead but in the meantime we have The Foreigner to whet our whistles and over 200 other films Jackie has done to keep us entertained.