Chan plays Quan, a father and local business owner in London where his daughter (Katie Leung) is killed in a terrorist bombing. A group claiming to be associated with the IRA takes responsibility. The Irish deputy minister, Liam Hennessy (Brosnan), was a former leader in the IRA and Quan hounds him for information on who the bombers are. Does Hennessy really know anything or is Quan letting his grief cloud his reasoning?
The Foreigner is a pretty straight-ahead action film. Jackie Chan is still an amazing fighter and stuntman and he does a fantastic job here. There are some really nice action scenes throughout the film. I also liked the IRA plot and how it unraveled, but the ultimate problem with the film is that it becomes wholly about the IRA and Chan’s character is pushed to the side in his own movie. There’s a point about three-quarters of the way through where Quan almost becomes an afterthought. Also, as the story progresses, it gets increasingly more ridiculous and unbelievable. As a result, the movie loses a lot of its punch as it goes on.
The cast does well with the material they have. Chan is great as always at what he does, but while he’s done a lot of comedic fighting in the past, Quan is all business here. That’s not to say that there aren’t some funny parts to the fights, but for the most part, Chan is deadly serious throughout. Brosnan does really well working with Campbell again—Campbell directed Brosnan’s first and best Bond film, Goldeneye—as he plays the maybe-sort of villain of the piece—I won’t spoil anything. There are also good turns here from Orla Brady, Michael McElhatton, Tao Liu, and Rory Fleck Byrne, but the show really belongs to Chan and Brosnan…at least until Chan’s character gets shunted to the side.
Overall, The Foreigner is nothing special. It’s an entertaining enough action film, but not one that you should rush out to see in the theater. Wait until this one hits Netflix and catch it there, if you feel the need to see it at all.