When you put on one of Jackie Chan’s, you pretty much know what’s going to be expected. Once assimilated its American stage, in which the genres were adapted a little to his way of making movies, we now have what seems an adaptation of the actor and his traditional acrobatics to a film of another genre totally new to him, a political thriller revenge movie dress.
In addition, it is not directed by anyone at the service of the actor, it is a film by Martin Campbell, with all that that implies. The director of ‘Casino Royale’ (2006) is not satisfied with the easy plot or a story that is usually simplified in this type of works. Instead, he decides to immerse himself in a series of secrets and narrative decisions more complex than a man’s story in a blood mission could make one wait.
Something more than an action film
Campbell seems to remain a director with the capacity to shoot an action movie in which he also has a strong story, and he does not worry about sacrificing emotion for another more macerated and patient rhythm. ‘The foreigner’ (The Foreigner) presents hard characters confronted with very difficult decisions that finally lead them in the least friendly ways. Therefore, we not only see their actions, but an exploration of the reasons that lead to it.
At the moment of truth, the thing does not have many ideological differences (even plot) with, for example, a ‘Acorralado’ (Rambo: First Blood, 1982), but definitely, it is richer than many contemporary films with a terrorist theme . Although while ‘The foreigner‘ evokes political thrillers from the nineties, it does not get away from the typical mold of action movies, but the difference is the performances of his talented roster of veteran stars.
The presence of Pierce Brosnan allows the great actor not to draw his character as a stereotypical villain. Instead he creates a guy who, without being sympathetic, is not the classic black and white nemesis. Given the premise, that is, Jackie Chanagainst a group of Irish terrorists guilty of the death of their daughter, the result is reasonably warm with a rather peregrine issue and misplaced and, at least, delicate.
Not another typical story of revenge
Therefore, Brosnan does what he can to make the conflict of a man with a cracked past credible and get to see his point of view from his position of sacrifice for the greater good. Unfortunately, that good does not always mean good in a universal sense. His decisions have a sordid and interested ideological background, which ultimately creates a destiny in which he has had decision-making capacity.
But beware, Chan spends most of the second half of the film off the screen, so Brosnan has his own subplot, anchoring a political plot with issues of torture, vigilance and rights. The film balances that confusion in a way that makes those conflicts interesting while following an argument that is responsible for introducing some sequence of action in between. But they are warned, they will miss the martial artist.
As compensation for the absence on screen, Jackie Chan is much more emotionally tuned than we are used to seeing. And it is precisely that felt interpretation that differentiates his revenge from others in the line that the series ‘Revenge’ (Taken, 2008) by Liam Neeson or other franchises. His defeated countenance is Campbell’s weapon to balance the conflicts of terror and war with redemption in a skillful and, above all, sincere manner.