"The Foreigner"

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It's great to have Jackie Chan back in action. If there was a director that could give him the comeback he deserved it'd be Martin Campbell. Campbell, after all, reinvented Bond for the 21st century with "Casino Royale." Despite some inspiring action sequences, "The Foreigner" is not "Casino Royale." The plot is overly complicated but Chan's Quan, a London businessman, whose daughter is killed in an IRA terrorist attack, is a nifty character for a comeback. This is the third daughter Quan has lost, the other two killed by Thai pirates as they were crossing the country a decade ago.  Suffice to say,  he snaps. Cue in the Taken-esque, revenge-fueled rampage. It helps that Chan, just like Neeson's character in "Taken" has acquired a "special set of skills" from his past in the Chinese Military Intelligence. His main target is Liam Hennessy, the sly believable Pierce Brosnan, a British government official whose own past was connected to the IRA. Quan believes Hennessy has the goods of info to find his daughter's killers. 

No fair revealing more, especially since this is a film that keeps the twists at bay in its trailer. Smart move, "The Foreigner" is elaborately absurd, but I wasn't bored. The action sequences are well-choreographed and represent possibly the best stunts Chan has done since 2000's underrated "Shanghai Noon." Hell, this is his best movie since that Owen Wilson buddy comedy set in the wild wild west.  The climactic action scene in "The Foreigner," which takes place in an apartment, has the actor using household appliances, among many other things, as weapons. It hs the 63-year-old Hong-Kong born actor in peak form, ditto the other action sequences in the film which are all beautifully handled.

There's something almost wholly satisfying in seeing aging Hollywood actors being vengeful, man-killing machines. Neeson and "Taken"  started a chain reaction of older, more mature-looking, Hollywood A-listers taking a crack at being action stars. It worked for Neeson and did as well with Keanu Reeves in both "John Wick" flicks, Chan's film has more mixed results. The problem with "The Foreigner" is that, quite surprisingly, there isn't enough Chan. At some point Quan disappears and Irish/British politics take over, more specifically Brosnan and his complicated relationship with the IRA, before he comes back again for a final showdown. It's a misstep on the part of Campbell because, well, this is supposed to be Chan's comeback vehicle, and it could have been with a few additional scenes. [C+]
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