On the Red Carpet with Jackie Chan at the debut of a new Action Thriller, The Foreigner
November 2017 – Bader Studios Hollywood is on the red carpet in Hollywood, CA as STX Entertainment is now premiering The Foreigner in North America first following a relatively successful release in China. The Huayi Brothers Pictures and Wanda Pictures production has a budget of $35 million, meaning it’s already a hit since it has made at least $78 million in China. This English language action thriller offers Jackie Chan another North American hit, as this is his first movie to get a wide theatrical release since The Karate Kid back in June of 2010.
The Foreigner, based on a novel by Stephen Leather and directed by Martin Campbell, is an old-school, politically-minded action thriller that technically pits Jackie Chan against Pierce Brosnan. The man who revived James Bond, twice, is directing Chan in an against-type role, as a sympathetic anti-hero waging a war on government operatives who may know the terrorists who killed his daughter. The studio is hoping this “the legend has returned” thriller, along with an against-type casting, will translate into North American success beyond its global success.
There is a lot to like about Martin Campbell’s The Foreigner, but what most impressed the critics is how well it blended too almost opposing movies into one entertaining concoction, in a way that takes away from either story short shrift. The Foreigner, based on Stephen Leather’s novel, is both a grim revenge thriller about a traumatized soldier who puts his skills to use one last time and a frantic political thriller about a soldier-turned-politician who tries to put water on an ever-growing fire. Either film would be enough, but The Foreigner gives us two for the price of one. And there is much entertainment to be found in how each story consistently interferes with the other.
Jackie Chan plays Ngoc Minh Quan, a London immigrant whose adult daughter is killed in an IRA terrorist bombing. The man has already suffered unthinkable atrocities, and he has also amassed a special set of skills. When he can’t get immediate answers as to who killed the only family he had left, he zeroes in on Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member turned British government official who either knows may know more than he lets on. As Hennessy tries to put out an escalating political fire that could undo two years of brokered peace, Quan embarks on a campaign of intimidation and potentially violent retribution to take his revenge.
Martin Campbell is the director who resurrected James Bond twice by redefining the character while making two of the best 007 films of all time. While The Foreigner isn’t quite on the level of Casino Royale or GoldenEye or even The Mask of Zorro), it again offers us a new variation on an iconic screen persona. Chan doesn’t need any box office boost in China (he’s been in a hot streak for the last few years), but this is the kind buttoned-down, dramatic role that he’d clearly like to do as his kicking and jumping days wind down. The emphasis is on skullduggery and acting over stunt work (there are no outtakes over the end credits).