2017 | 114 minutes | Rated R
Here’s what The Foreigner looks like: Taken, but with Jackie Chan. But if you walk into the theater expecting either a Taken knockoff or a typical Jackie Chan vehicle, you’re going to be disappointed. Which is a shame, because The Foreigner is really interesting—just not for the sort of reasons that fit into a trailer. Yes, Chan plays Quan, a frumpy dad with secret Special Forces training. And yes, his only daughter (Katie Leung) is immediately blown up by terrorists. But Taken movies operate with a straightforward set of rules, while The Foreigner threads Quan’s quest for vengeance through a complex web of contemporary British counter-terrorism and North Ireland politics. It’s also a chance for Chan to demonstrate his dramatic talents to a Western audience—which may take a bit of getting used to. Quan is a man hollowed out by grief, and Chan translates his talent for demanding physical comedy into a keenly observed body language of hunched shoulders and shuffling steps. Paired with Pierce Brosnan’s effortlessly menacing charm, there’s a lot of, well, acting, in a genre that’s usually reserved for stoicism and grave intonation.
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