The Foreigner (NC16)
Starring Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan
Directed by Martin Campbell
Let’s be clear: Jackie Chan can do drama (see The Karate Kid and Shinjuku Incident) — he just needs the right material to fall on his lap.
Here, the martial arts icon is all serious and moody as Quan, an immigrant whose daughter is killed in a London bombing committed by Irish radicals, while Pierce Brosnan (a long way from James Bond) is the duplicitous Irish Deputy Minister with ties to the terrorists.
When Quan gets stonewalled by the authorities, he resorts to guerilla warfare — taught to him by the Americans during the Vietnam War — to flush out the culprits. JC still does action, but the kind that’s more gritty than clownish. Throughout the movie, he’s subdued, dazed, and doesn’t say much. He doesn’t need to: all the rage and heartbreak is on his face. (***1/2)