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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 17, 2017

The Foreigner Movie Review: Jackie Chan In A Rare Dramatic Vehicle As A Grieving Dad Whose Daughter Is Killed By Terrorists

 JACKIE CHAN is 63 years old but he amazingly continues to do his own stunts and acrobatics as the undisputed king of martial arts flicks, sustaining his reputation as the most successful Asian actor who has worked in Hollywood. He usually does action comedy with lots of slapstick but in “The Foreigner”, based on the novel “The Chinaman” by Stephen Leather, he goes into action drama when his only daughter (Katie Leung) is killed in a terrorist attack while buying a dress for her school prom.

One of the most iconic international actors today, this is his most dramatic vehicle in his career and in all fairness to Jackie, he tackles his role with so much gravitas and quiet power. The shocked sorrow on his face after his daughter’s untimely passing makes his perfomance a notched higher than that of Liam Neeson’s similarly anguished dad whose daughter is only kidnapped in the original “Taken”.

He plays Quan Ngoc Minh, an immigrant restaurant owner in London. The bombers who killed his teenage daughter are Northern Irish radicals who manage to escape. Jackie then chooses to wage a personal war against them. He has had secret government training as an explosives expert, so he certainly knows how to get back at his daughter’s killers.

At first, he tries to bribe a police investigator (Ray Fearon) to know the identities of the bombers, but when that fails, he asks the help of a former Irish Republic Army deputy minister, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), who ignores him, unwilling to help and is hiding some secrets. Brosnan mistakenly underestimates the seemingly harmless foreigner and Jackie quickly retaliates by blowing up the toilet in his office using a home made bomb.

Jackie then conducts his own investigation, going to Ireland himself to track down some of Brosnan’s IRA connections. He knows vengeance won’t bring back his daughter but he is very determined to put justice into his own hands, culminating in an action-filled sequence in an apartment where household appliances are turned by Jackie into all kinds of weapons. He ends up terrorizing the terrorists.

The movie is expertly directed by Martin Campbell (who helmed James Bond flicks like “Casino Royale” and “Goldeneye”) and he keeps the action and the thrills going on a consistently high note to make this political thriller, which has some surprising twists about conspiracy and betrayals among Irish terrorists and British policiticans, quite a delight to watch especially for action fans.

Jackie is very committed to his role as an Asian Rambo and the whole cast shares the earnestness of his commitment that even the marginal characters make quite an impression. Brosnan is perfect as the shady politician who tries to reconcile his renegade past with his political future. He hides some secrets without knowing that so many more secrets are being hidden away from him. He plays his role with a mixture of suavity and underlying menace that is fun to watch, but it’s Jackie, of course, who runs away with the movie.