Foreigner, The (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 10-Jan-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Making Of-Forces (2:17)
Trailer-x 1 for another film
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 113:25
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Martin Campbell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jackie Chan
Pierce Brosnan
Rory Fleck Byrne
Orla Brady
Ray Fearon
Charlie Murphy
Dermot Crowley
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Cliff Martinez


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Mandarin
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     A bomb set off in London by a splinter group of the IRA kills a number of people including the teenage daughter of Quan Ngoc Minh (Jackie Chan). We learn later that Quan fought in Vietnam with the US Special Forces but when the South fell Quan and his family had to flee by sea where his wife and two of his daughters died. Now, with his only remaining daughter killed, Quan wants revenge. The police led by Commander Bromley (Ray Fearon) are trying to identify the bombers and have no time for Quan. Then on TV Quan sees Deputy Minister for Ireland Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), who had been in Sinn Fein and the IRA but has now joined the British government and is trying to keep the Peace Accord (and his political career) intact. Quan believes that Hennessy knows the identity of the bombers and is he determined to intimidate Hennessy into telling him the names.

     Hennessy has his own problems. He is in an unhappy marriage with wife Mary (Orla Brady) while having an affair with a younger woman Maggie (Charlie Murphy), he is under pressure from the British government to use his contacts to find the bombers and also under pressure from his old cronies in the IRA, including Hugh McGrath (Dermot Crowley), to wring concessions from the British for their members. With these pressures, Hennessy does not need problems with Quan who, with his Special Forces training, plants bombs and traps for Hennessy and his men. Hennessy calls his nephew Sean (Rory Fleck Byrne), who is ex-military, from America to help but the bombers strike again, blowing up a London bus. Who is orchestrating the bombing and why?

     The Foreigner is based on the book The Chinaman by Stephen Leather and is directed by Martin Campbell, who has an decent action track record having directed Brosnan in GoldenEye (1995), the entertaining The Mask of Zorro (1998) and the excellent reimagining of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006) although he has gone off the boil lately, not directing a feature film for 6 years before The Foreigner. However Campbell certainly still knows how to do action well and in The Foreigner he is helped by having one of the all-time great action stars in Jackie Chan. Chan has a history of action / comedy films but The Foreigner is very different. There is not a laugh in sight as Chan plays a grizzled and lined, not to mention obsessive, man in his sixties while the fights are not light-hearted or balletic but brutal with impacts that look like they hurt. Jackie can still kick and move amazingly for his age, which allows Campbell to keep the camera at a distance without quick cutting of sequences so we can see all the moves! Indeed, the fight between Jackie and Rory Fleck Byrne is almost old fashioned in its staging allowing us to watch a couple of martial artists doing their thing!

     Throughout the film Jackie’s character is driven, one could say obsessive, so while Jackie is able to display sadness and grief, this is a character who we know exactly his motivations and where he is going. Not so Pierce Brosnan. Indeed, The Foreigner is almost two parallel story lines; while the revenge plot is straight forward, machinations within the Irish characters are anything but. Which is where Brosnan shines for we are never sure about his knowledge or his motivations. Hennessy is a complex figure. He elicits sympathy despite his personal failings; we see him doing all he can to protect the Peace Accord and identify the rogue elements within the IRA, secretly liaising with the British Police, facing betrayals within his own ranks and maybe with his own family. But just how complicit is he with the events unfolding?

     The Foreigner strains the credibility with some of the plotting but it is a solid, entertaining thriller with good performances and decent action that deserves more of an audience.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Foreigner is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Shot digitally, The Foreigner looks as one might expect. Detail is firm and colours have that digital glossy look but are otherwise natural and unmanipulated, with nice greens in the sequences in the countryside. Blacks and shadow detail are excellent, skin tones natural, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts were absent.

     White English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available plus Mandarin, catering for Jackie’s Chinese fans. The English subtitles automatically translate the sections of Chinese dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
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Overall

Audio

     The audio is English DTS-HA MA 5.1 plus English descriptive audio using a male voice (Dolby Digital 2.0).

     Dialogue is clear throughout. During the hand to hand fighting in the rears and surrounds there are the usual thumps, impacts, crashes and bodies landing, the gunfight features shots and impacts. Elsewhere the main use of the rears is the electronic score by Cliff Martinez which is quite discordant in tone. The subwoofer added boom to the score and also supported the explosions.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues. A one point I heard some slight crackle.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailer

     A trailer for Justice League (2:24) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

The Making of The Foreigner (2:17)

     The extras menu calls this “Forces” for some reason but it is the same mini-featurette that is called the “Making of” on the US release. It is little more than a trailer with brief comments by Martin Campbell, Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray of The Foreigner has DTS-HD 7.1 audio, the same short extra we have but adds interviews with Martin Campbell (7:29), Jackie Chan (9:43) and Pierce Brosnan (10:46) as well as two trailers. While the 7.1 audio is reported to “fizzles more than it sizzles” the extras would give the US release the edge.

Summary

     Despite a cast including Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan and an experienced director in Martin Campbell, Roadshow dumped The Foreigner here without advertising into a few screens in the capital cities where it predictable sank without a trace. While the film may not be anything special, it is a well-made, well-acted, solid entertaining thriller that is well worth a look for fans of thrillers or of the leads.

     The video and audio are fine. The only extra is tiny!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, April 30, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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