The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - FILM - Brad Wheeler

There are midlife crises and then there are midlife calami­ties. In The For­eigner – a lame reti­tling of The Chi­na­man, the po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect name of the novel upon which this ac­tion-thriller is based – Jackie Chan plays a griev­ing, venge­ful fa­ther who vi­o­lently in­serts him­self into an IRA-linked bomb­ing that mis­tak­enly took his daugh­ter’s life. Specif­i­cally, he is Quan Ngoc Minh, an unas­sum­ing im­mi­grant and Lon­don-based res­tau­rant owner with se­ri­ous bone-snap­ping skills and a tal­ent for guer­rilla in­sur­gency that in­di­cate a heavy past. Seek­ing the names of “New IRA” ter­ror­ists, his sights are on Liam Hen­nessy, an ex-IRA leader and cur­rent North­ern Ire­land politi­cian played by Pierce Bros­nan (here reunited with Bond-movie di­rec­tor Martin Camp­bell). The in­trigue is high and the ac­tion is fu­ri­ous, but a sort of meta sub­plot is also at work: Sex­a­gene­r­ian ac­tion-film hero Chan against one­time 007er Bros­nan. The pow­ers of glory days are sum­moned. MayDe­cem­ber af­fairs are hap­pen­ing willy-nilly. The wife of Bros­nan’s char­ac­ter hisses at him, “I re­mem­ber a day when you would have han­dled this prop­erly.” What can Bros­nan do but stroke his salt-and-pep­per beard and wist­fully agree. (R) –

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