WHAT I LIKED: I watched Martin Campbell's 'The Foreigner,' expecting a fairly weightless, run-of-the-mill action movie, but this is actually a rather admirable political thriller about the remaining scars left by the Northern Irish conflicts and the significance that the IRA and its ideologies still hold. Indeed whilst one may have expected this movie to have dumbed down its source material to the terrorist-attack revenge plot that it's marketed as, this actually takes its subject matter pretty seriously as we get lots of development for the NI-secretary character (played brilliantly by Pierce Brosnan) and the troubles that this whole subject throws up for him and his allies/friends who once fought with the IRA. That thorough exploration means the whole political sensitivity and the complex nature of this great story all becomes very clear, and it elevates the film far beyond a typical revenge movie.
There is still a revenge plot going on here as well though of course, and what that offers is an emotional way into the political stuff so that the human effects of the terrorism discussed are felt. That's helped by an unusually nuanced performance from Jackie Chan, and in the end what you've got is a surprisingly serious political thriller that engages you for its majority and shines a contemporary light on a relevant real-world subject.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: In places the execution does leave a little to be desired as some of the dialogue is fairly ropey, and that doesn't help with the fact that the revenge stuff often feels like a side-plot. Oh, and that name is just awful...
VERDICT: A film that turned out to be a pretty great political thriller with a revenge plot element on the side buoyed by two great performances, 'The Foreigner,' is much better than it looks... and sounds.