The Foreigner-Martial Arts Breakdown and Review

Jackie is not playing around this time!

Jackie Chan The Foreigner

Take The Foreigner Seriously

Last night my wife and I went to see The Foreigner. The movie is directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Mask of Zorro, Casino Royale), and stars Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. The story focuses on Mr. Chan’s character after the loss of his daughter in a bombing in London. He seeks out Mr. Brosnan’s character for help in finding those responsible for the attack.

My wife and I have both grown up on Jackie Chan movies and didn’t need much convincing to be interested. However, when we saw the first trailer, it shot into “must-see” territory. Seeing a very serious and angry Jackie Chan was highly intriguing. In addition, Pierce Brosnan is usually a good bet as an addition to any movie. So how did it turn out? Let’s break it down!

Martial Arts Breakdown

Jackie Chan/Quan

I’ve always appreciated Jackie Chan for his extraordinary career as a martial artist and actor. Unlike many, he found his niche in portraying martial arts from a comedic perspective and the rest, as they say, is history. His stunt work is legendary, almost to the point of over-shadowing his extraordinary skill as a martial artist. His movies are ones that even non-martial artists can appreciate and enjoy. The Foreigner, however, differentiates itself from his past movies.

Rest assured, Jackie is still Jackie. He still performs fantastic stunts that give me sympathy-pain when he gets hurt on-screen. He also still has impressively fast hands and feet. Mr. Chan still uses everything within reach as a potential weapon, and his acrobatic use of the environment is still on display. What is so different, then?

Mr. Chan is not playing around this time. All of the hallmarks of Jackie Chan are there, but he wants vengeance instead of laughs. Mr. Chan has always been able to “speak” to the audience with his fight choreography, and this time is no different. You can feel his pain, anger, and desperation in his fight scenes. His determination to achieve his goal of finding those responsible is almost palpable. There are not as many fight sequences in this movie as the trailers suggest, but they are tense and exhilarating.

Mr. Chan’s unique style is captured well in this movie. Director Martin Campbell shows that he understands how to put Mr. Chan in a position to shine on-screen. I never saw a moment that Mr. Chan looked like he was being asked to do something that was beyond his capability. This movie stands in stark contrast to The Bodyguard with Sammo Hung, which I previously reviewed here.

Despite his age, Jackie is still giving a high-quality performance!

Movie Review

The Foreigner doesn’t rush the lead up to creating the major event of the story too much, but it gets to it pretty quickly. The pacing of the movie is fairly even throughout while picking up some near the climax. The character building, and revealing, is well layered over the course of the movie.

Unlike the presentation of the trailers, this is not an out-and-out action movie. However, it is a very tense combination of political and revenge thrillers. Every decision made has consequences, and the price is quite steep most of the time. This also applies to the action sequences that Mr. Chan appears in. Similar to the show Daredevil, Quan suffers realistic wounds and injuries throughout the movie. In addition, they do actively affect him as he is clearly shown dealing with them. I appreciated this, as it is a point that is typically glossed over in other action movies.

Mr. Brosnan and Mr. Chan give high-quality acting performances as the two main characters. They both own most of the scenes they appear in, bringing nuance and gravitas. The supporting cast also fills their roles out effectively.


The Foreigner is a good political and revenge thriller. My wife and I came away really enjoying the action as well as the slow-burn of the story as well. It is also interesting as a change of pace for Mr. Chan in a serious role. This movie probably will not be remembered as the historically best cinema ever. However, don’t let that keep you from watching a very enjoyable movie!

For more information on the cast and crew, you can find that here. If you see the movie, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Scott Bolon

Scott Bolon

I am a Shodan in Tracy's Kenpo Karate under Grandmaster Mark Tracy.I also hold rank in Tae Kwon Do and Combat Hapkido.I enjoy almost anything related to the martial arts, and love to have conversations about it.
Scott Bolon
Scott Bolon
About Scott Bolon 33 Articles
I am a Shodan in Tracy's Kenpo Karate under Grandmaster Mark Tracy. I also hold rank in Tae Kwon Do and Combat Hapkido. I enjoy almost anything related to the martial arts, and love to have conversations about it.

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