The Foreigner (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Foreigner</strong> (2017)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2018) It’s rare enough to see one actor challenging his established persona, how about two in the same movie? Granted, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that both Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan play against type in The Foreigner: Chan has taken on increasingly diverse roles as he’s grown older and unable to sustain the same kind of punishment as he did as a young man. Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan has played a number of villains in the past, notably and recently in Survivor. Still, it’s a bit off-putting to see Chan as a vengeful father in the middle of a dour realistic thriller—his stock-in-trade has always been comedy, and he looks much, much older here in the context of a world-weary suspense movie. Meanwhile, Brosnan is usually depicted as an action-capable strong figure, and it’s a bit of a change to see him become a hypocritical politician, violent enough to kill a subordinate but not meant to sustain action feats. Helmed by veteran director Martin Campbell, The Foreigner does have a few remarkable sequences: The double-decker bus bombing on London Bridge is viscerally effective, while Chan does get at least one good bone-crushing fight late in the film. Still, for all of its qualities, The Foreigner can’t quite escape a certain blandness as another bleak revived-IRA thriller that seems to go through the motions in washed-out cold colours and doesn’t feature anyone to cheer for. Thanks to its two stars playing atypical roles, it may be a bit more memorable than its many similar movies, but not by much.

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