Jackie Chan is no foreigner to action

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By Matt McDonald, Columnist

I’ve never really seen many Jackie Chan movies. I’ve seen a little bit of the first “Rush Hour,” but other than that, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Chan’s choreography and stunts. I’ve always looked forward to the new ways he incorporates his own moves and surroundings into the fight scenes in his movies. For the first Jackie Chan movie I’ve seen in full, I wasn’t disappointed.

“The Foreigner” stars Jackie Chan as Quan Ngoc Minh, a father who has lost many family members trying to get out of a warzone in his home country, and has come to London with his only surviving daughter. When a bomber blows up a dress shop and kills Minh’s daughter, he goes to British government official Liam Hennessy’s (Pierce Brosnan) office and requests the names of the bombers. When Hennessy says he cannot help him, Minh takes matters into his own hands, threatening Hennessy and his guards until they hand over the names he believes they know.

I think the most interesting part of this movie is the fact that there is a clear antagonist that we see throughout the movie — the bombers — but the real conflict is between Chan’s and Brosnan’s characters. You can never really decide if anyone is actually a good guy or not, as they all play games and threaten each other. While Minh and Hennessy are on the same side regarding the bombers, they are also in opposition because of Minh’s actions against Hennessy.

Chan gives a great performance, and proves he can still fight his way through anything despite the “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”-type “old man” jokes scattered throughout the film. However, he also brings an incredibly emotional and solemn side to the character, something I haven’t known Jackie Chan to take on. Brosnan gives an equally great performance, bordering the line between hardworking agent and shady politician so well that you’re not quite sure what to believe the entire time.

With as many subplots that there were with this movie, I was able to follow along fairly well. The story is told carefully but without much exposition, save for one or two small scenes. At first it seems like there is too much going on at the same time, but each part is purposeful and blends into one coherent end. My only gripe was that Jackie Chan was not in it as much as he should have been. The subplots overtake the story and, while they make sense, they leave less time for Chan. The gaps are filled beautifully with Brosnan’s character, but I almost started to wonder whose movie it was. 

I was very entertained by this movie; it was very well-directed, and the story flowed nicely, except for Chan’s lack of screen time. The fight scenes were captivating and surprising, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of Jackie Chan’s movies, both for the stunts and the performance.

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