The Foreigner

Writing MovieWRONGS

By Jim West

The Foreigner

Directed by Martin Campbell

Written by David Marconi, based upon the novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather

Considering that some film rating sites have largely panned this film, I must say they are missing out on the experience I had.  I quite frankly could NOT have written a better film given the source material.  The only nick pick would be the timing of the IRA menace from the book is better suited for early 90’s era than modern day, but I liked what Marconi did with the screenplay.  This film helmed by a master director, Martin Campbell, who if that name doesn’t ring a bell just let me say Casino Royale.  Yeah that is the director here and the film is a well-paced as any bond film could be.  Then there is the splendid performance of Jackie Chan playing against the typical happy faced character we usually would see in his films.  Brilliant acting and effective writing are very much on display here so this one will be a writing movie ‘RIGHT’ review.

Here comes the spoilers.

A father is picking up his daughter from high school.  She is in a rush to get a dress for prom.  Jackie Chan comes off a bit protective here and it is because she is the only family he has left.  You get more details later as the film progresses.  She runs out the car in a hurry to snag the dress and Jackie tries to park and abruptly a bomb explosion sets the film off literally with a bang.  Rogue IRA group calling themselves the “Authentic IRA” claims responsibility.  We then get introduced to Pierce Brosnan’s character who is the Irish Deputy Minister.  London counter terrorism is on the hunt and Jackie goes to see the head of command to offer money for the names of the bombers.  The officer turns him down and insists that Chan let them do their work.  Chan then sees Brosnan’s character on TV ad reads about his former IRA ties and goes to see him to get the names of those responsible for his daughter’s death. 

Brosnan’s rejects Jackie’s offer to get names and Jackie sets off a bomb in the building and follows up with some other scare tactics to make Brosnan realize he won’t stop until he gets the names.  The audience then gets some background on Jackie’s character and how he lost his family during an escape from Asia and his wife died while giving birth to their last daughter.  This clearly shows us a man with nothing to lose and you really get to empathize with his character.  Jackie’s lack of dialogue only plays to the gravity of the scenes of a grieving father better.  The ONLY issue I have is when Pierce is reviewing hi file that it is revealed that Chan is a former US Special Forces operative.  Why not keep Jackie as a Chinese Special Forces?  Just a minor why question there, but it is quickly glossed over.  The only other issue I have is with the fight scene in the woods with the nephew of Brosnan’s character was somewhat stretching the plausibility more than it should have.  Again this is something that could be made better by having it appear more accidental to how Jackie won that fight. 

In closing this is a taunt and well-paced film with just enough complexity that you don’t leave the theater scratching your head, but enough to make you go ‘oh I didn’t see that coming’.  I really liked how the police in London were on their game and just seconds away from the bombers which is refreshing considering most films show cops arriving after the carnage.  Kudos all around for the writer, actors and director on getting a movie as right as can be.

Thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’ ‘RIGHT’.   

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