Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Foreigner (2003)

The Foreigner of the title is Steven Seagal, a man entrusted to pick up a package and deliver it. Sounds simple enough. It soon turns out that a lot of people want to get their hands on this package and Seagal must fend off numerous foes while he tries to resolve the situation for the best.

Written by Darren O. Campbell and directed by Michael Oblowitz, The Foreigner is one big mess of a movie that somehow manages to avoid boredom by throwing in a BIG explosion every 20 minutes or so and letting Seagal kick ass often enough to appease his fans.

The acting is pretty terrible from all involved. Seagal himself is up to his usual standard (take that as you will) but the rest of the cast seems to be filled by jobbing actors who keep struggling to decide what accent they should be using. Max Ryan is the worst offender as Dunoir, the main foe for much of the movie, but Deobia Oparei uses his limited screentime to drag the movie down and Harry Van Gorkum isn't someone I will be looking out for in future. Jeffrey Pierce somehow comes out of this looking better than most, perhaps thanks to his laid-back character being a bit more relaxed than all of the uptight folk trying to keep straight faces. And Anna-Louise Plowman is both okay in her role and easy on the eyes.

Filmed in Poland and Germany, the movie feels like a cheap quickie made to please easily-satisfied action junkies. There are plenty of little editing tricks making the most of the footage and the same stuntwork crops up in most of the action sequences (just how many times do we need to see a "standard henchman" tumbling backwards from a ledge?) but I'd also have to admit that it actually does meet the requirements for low-grade action fare.

This movie marked the beginning of what we might call Seagal's wilderness years (numerous movies that didn't get theatrical releases before his "Steven Seagal: Lawman" TV show and his role in Machete) but it's still not the worst thing his fans could choose to watch.

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