There were some potentially fantastic movies coming out this week. My first pick was “Marshall,” the story of the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. But of course, “Marshall” was not playing at the theater in town, so I had to pick something else. I planned on going to see “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women,” which promised to be a compelling story about the creator of the comic book character Wonder Woman and his polygamous relationship with his wife and mistress. Of course, I could not find a showing that I could see. So I had to skip that one, too.
That left me with one option: “The Foreigner” with Jackie Chan. I was still hopeful that I would see a good film, even if it was less meaningful than my first two picks. Jackie Chan’s movies are usually funny and include fantastic fight scenes. However, my hopes were thrashed into tiny pieces by the film’s sheer dullness.
The action scenes still had excellent choreography — that much I enjoyed. But everything else about the film was just downright boring. The plot — if you can call it that — was bare- bones and the main fight scenes were strung together with the cheapest twine the screenwriter could find. The film spent all of its money on the veteran cast of great actors, which unfortunately did not pan out, because this might have been the most bland acting job that I have seen.
Most of the blame could be pointed at the script — I think that Chan’s character had twenty lines the entire film, fifteen of which were him yelling at Pierce Brosnan’s character to give him the name of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) member who killed Chan’s daughter.
Chan’s character was not even really a character at all. He was so flat that he may as well have been a piece of paper with fists and feet so that he could kick, punch, and shoot his way from one action scene to another. Brosnan’s character also lacked any form of motivation. I think the director told him to use his natural Irish accent and then just shoved him in front of a camera. What a waste of acting prowess.
The plot, as mentioned before, has as many holes as moldy swiss cheese. Chan’s daughter is killed in a car bomb set off by a rogue IRA cell, pushing Chan to go after the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Brosnan’s character, who might possibly have some idea of who is responsible, but Chan has no way of knowing for sure. He harrasses this elected official by blowing up stuff near him and confronting him several times. It just does not make any sense, even in the end. Of course he really is the bad guy — you can tell that from the trailers. But Chan’s character has no way of knowing that.
“The Foreigner” is just pretty disappointing. The action scenes are good, but every movie in this genre has good action scenes. A film cannot rely on its choreography alone. There has to be motivation, character growth, and a sense of plot. “The Foreigner” exhibits none of these characteristics. It takes itself too seriously and gives off an air of being stiff and unfeeling, which does not lend itself to cinematic moments.