The Foreigner is Jackie Chan’s latest American movie. In the movie he stars as Quan Ngoc Minh a business owner who seeks revenge over the death of his daughter. Now as a big fan of Jackie’s old movies (Rumble in the Bronx all the way) I am saddened to say that this movie was not enjoyable to me. It was frankly all over the place with unnecessary subplots. There was a pointless incest subplot. No worries, Jackie wasn’t involved. Though the convoluted factor of the movie isn’t the fault of Jackie but the source material. You see The Foreigner is based on of a book with a problematic title (It’s an outdated and offensive term for a person of Chinese descent. They use it a lot in the movie but it’s against my personal morals to use racial slurs.) Now in the book, Quan attempts to find out who is his daughter’s killers but we find out the main plot of the story is the inner conflict within the IRA (Irish Republic Army).
I have not read the book (Only a summary) so I have no idea how the dynamic turns out in there but in the film it feels as if you’re watching multiple movies that are vaguely connected. These movies are a revenge plot, a political thriller and a family drama full of manipulations. The movie also gives screen time to characters that don’t really need it. One example being a reporter whose only purpose is to get tricked into carrying a bomb (I personally feel that the 10 minutes of screentime involving him could have been cut. You really didn’t need for him to have lines at all).
Also the killers of Quan’s daughter weren’t really active at all. They spent a big part of the movie holed up in an apartment. The member that did have the most screen time was reduced to a caricature of a woman who had to sleep with the men in this movie to accomplish her goals. All the women were written pretty badly but to be fair so was everyone else.
As for Jackie’s character? He wasn’t consequential to the overall plot at all. In fact, you could say his plot was the side story of the movie. The movie is actually about a man called Liam Hennessey (Pierce Brosnan) a member of the IRA who is attempting to maintain political power in Ireland while attempting to deal with a rogue IRA faction. In fact, Brosnan gets more screen time than Jackie.
I had hope that Jackie’s character somehow becomes central to the plot but he doesn’t. In fact if you erase Jackie’s character from the movie he doesn’t matter at all which I find troubling since he is advertised as the main character. However it is a different story if you erase Brosnan’s character.
Jackie’s character also spends 90% of the movie not actually having any idea if the person he’s hounding (Liam) has any idea who has kill his daughter. It’s after the final arc does he have a solid idea of who the culprits are. Another frustrating thing is that Jackie’s character doesn’t deduct anything on his own. He is legit told by the main villain who does all the work of finding out (The villain eventually grows tired and frustrated with Jackie as well as fearful.). Jackie spends the movie acting like broken record asking “Who killed my daughter” and terrorizing Liam but he never actually does any true reconnaissance.
Also Jackie’s character endangers the lives of many innocent people but for some strange reason the cops let him go because they “owe him one” when in fact they don’t. They find out who the terrorists are without Jackie’s help and probably would have taken them in with ease. All Jackie does is almost botch a plan hatched by the cops and almost kills a member of the terrorist group who knows which passenger has a bomb on the plane. He also steals a dog for no discernible reason. He’s frankly an annoyance in this movie (to me at least).
Verdict: Convoluted plot. Jackie’s character is advertised as the main character but doesn’t feel like he is and he affects the plot in no shape or form whatsoever.