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The Foreigner is a straight-to-video Steven Seagal film that was
intended to be released as a theatrical feature in March, 2003, an
which was reportedly reversed when Seagal's prior film (Half Past Dead)
tanked at the box office. According to some reports, the film had a
$20 million budget, including location shoots in Warsaw and Paris, and
completed as part of the studio's obligation to a two-picture deal which
negotiated after the relative success of Exit Wounds seemed to indicate
Seagal still had a solid following.
Despite the size of their investment, Sony Screen Gems probably made the right move in shelving this movie. It is nearly incomprehensible. What am I saying? It IS incomprehensible. I don't think I understood what was going on at all, except in the very broadest terms.
Seagal is employed by a mysterious guy to deliver a mysterious package to another mysterious guy. Other mysterious guys try to stop him. Other highly mysterious guys try to kill the moderately mysterious guys who try to stop him. Other really, really mysterious guys do especially mysterious stuff, all of which which was in fact too mysterious for me to figure out. The intended recipient's mysterious wife tries to intercept the package before it can be delivered to her husband. Because he is a self-proclaimed "consummate professional" who has been hired to deliver the package only into the hands of the husband, Seagal at first defies the wife, then later gets involved in protecting her and her daughter from other mysterious guys with unexplained agendas, as well as from her husband.
Many people have mysterious, cryptic conversations. Many people blow each other's brains out. Some guys seem to die more than once, while in other scenes gunfights end without a clear view of the result, so the audience sees somebody die, but is not sure which one of the gunslingers is headed to boot hill. Allegiances shift often, adding further mystery. Or should I say confusion?
I don't know who was on whose side, or what anybody really wanted, and the resolution was as unsatisfying as the exposition. At the end of the movie, I just sat there thinking, "That's the end? What the ...?"
I couldn't even figure out the credits. IMDb says that Aussie actress Kate Fischer (from "Sirens") was in this film, but I'll be damned if I know where. Either she was left on the cutting room floor or she wisely opted out of the project. She could have found some activities more beneficial to her career, like having unnecessary surgery, ripping those pesky insert cards out of magazines, or taking some community college courses in animal husbandry.
Seagal used to be a pretty fair hand-to-hand combatant, but the action scenes didn't manage to redeem this film at all. Seagal is in his 50's now and is a very large man, so he is reduced to a mimimal level of physical exertion and even during that he is contained in a knee-length coat to hide his inchoate Brandoesque girth. He might even get a little winded removing the wrappers from candy bars, although that's understandable if you estimate just how many of those he must have to eat to maintain his present girth.
Steven Seagal seemed to be making a comeback with Exit Wounds, but if his last film was half past dead, this one must be pretty close to filling out the other half.
The movie fascinated me because of the plot, but once it got underway
my fascination took a different direction. I think for the only time in
my life I laughed at people getting shot. Segall's Dutch accomplice
shoots everyone! He himself is shot four different times. The hotel
clerk won't give out a room number? Ask her to call and see which
number she dials. Then, instead of unobtrusively going to that room,
The farce is complete when Segall faces down an opponent holding a gun 20 yards away. He flings a flight recorder CD with a little C4 stuck on like gum at his assailant. We see the disk igniting in mid-air in slow motion. Does the other guy shoot? No, he just stares at a CD coming to blow him away. The CD has the extra fun effect of propelling him backwards and upwards through a conveniently placed 2nd story picture window.
I must admit; I enjoyed this so much that I immediately went out to get another Segall movie to see if it is as ridiculous. I can't explain why this is entertaining, but it is! IT IS!!
This movie seems somewhat promising at first, but quickly spirals into
a pointless mesh of betrayal and murder. As just about everyone who's
posted before me has said, this film basically follows a series of
nameless, faceless people around looking for a package. In the process,
roughly half of Poland's population is shot in the chest by a guy who
must smoke a carton of cigarettes in the mercifully brief 90 minute
running time. I don't remember the names of any of these characters or
the actors who portrayed them. All I can say is that I'm sure everyone
involved has seen better days.
And what's up with the editing in this movie? Does the guy in charge of postproduction really think slowing down and then quickly speeding up the film is going to add anything to the experience? Was writing a coherent story out of the question? Keep in mind these are all rhetorical questions. I intend to forget this travesty before I even hit the "submit" button.
When you watch a Seagal movie, you expect good action. You expect fighting, not just a lot of shooting like in this flick. And: you expect a rather simple story. OK, I can live with a more complex story even though it's a Seagal movie. But this one, this is, I don't know what to say. It's very, very confusing indeed. At the end of the movie, I had major problems figuring out what had happened. And I know I'm not the only one. The story lacks so much information and is so full of plot holes that it's nearly impossible to keep track of what's happening in the movie. There are many people in the movie, people change sides all the time, and it switches locations too often. Terrible. I just don't understand why it looks like Seagal is making a sort of sequel to this one.
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal
Instead*Avoid At All Costs
Steven Seagal should have got a better agent.After Exit Wounds miraculously went straight to number one at the US box office and temporarily restored his position as a top ranking Hollywood action star,his next step was not to go for a leading role in a film by another big name,Hollywood action director like John Woo or Michael Bay,or even his old aquaintance Andrew Davis,but to go to trashy,sloppy DTV action director Albert Pyun and appear in a supporting role in a Godawful piece of dreck by the name of Ticker.This,did,however,go straight to video (as just about every film Pyun's ever made has) and probably went unnoticed by the cinema going public.However,when the film Half Past Dead was released a year later,in which Mr.Ponytail co starred with gravel voiced rap midget Ja Rule,the gimmick appeared to have worn off,and the film,unlike EW which started the whole Seagal/rappers thing,was a mega flop.Maybe it had something to do with it being released on the same weekend as Harry Potter 2,but nevertheless,flop it was,and now,Seagal appears to have plummeted smack-bang right to the position his career was in five years ago with the straight-to-video action movie The Foreigner,a labourous,over-stylised dud that runs for 92 minutes,but ends up feeling more like 992.
This is probably owed more than anything to a totally incomprehensible plot,with too many thinly plotted twists,turns and red herrings in it to sustain interest.
Seagal's raspy voice has always seemed to prove a hinderance to any movie he's in,but he mumbles so badly at certain stages in this,even the highest pitched dolby pro logic sound system probably couldn't make him sound any more audible.
Aside from this,the movie,especially for a 15 certificate,is full of gratuitous violence,mainly in the form of graphic shootings,especially from the Dunoir character.There are some other rather grisly images too,but the shootings are certainly the most consistent.
Certain scenes have a nice visual flair,and the action's not bad,but overall,this is a ponderous mess that shows clearly the direction in which Seagal's star is falling.**
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
This movie taught me an important lesson: I should listen to the user comments. Before renting "The Foreigner", I read some of the user comment summaries on the IMDb. I didn't expect them to be too positive. I was surprised to see that they were not only negative but vehemently so. I rented it anyway while muttering that one phrase that has begun so many painful movie watching experiences: "How bad can it be?"
This movie is an abomination. It is right down there with "Ticker" as the worst Seagal flick ever. I thought "Fire Down Below" was horrid when that came out. That movie was genius compared to this one. At least in "FDB" he was fighting. Seagal doesn't fight anymore! He does not and CANNOT do martial arts anymore!! This is the overriding problem with recent Seagal movies. The camera does most of the fighting for him. It will either go in slow motion or super fast speed so we can't see what in the heck he is doing. Notice how Seagal is always wearing a jacket or a long coat? This is so we don't see his current body shape. I think they'll be putting him in cold settings from now on. Get ready for Steven Seagal in "Hard to Freeze: Antarctic Ranger!"
"The Foreigner" has many other problems too numerous to mention. It was an incoherent mess. Buildings were blowing up for no apparent reason, people were getting shot with silencers for some reason, the bad guy kept smoking through it all and Seagal was wheezing. I was wheezing too after this mess. Don't see this junk. It will only hurt your memories of better Seagal movies. See "Marked for Death" or "Under Siege". Those were good movies. "The Foreigner" is awful.
Jonathan Cold is a freelance agent who is hired by Alexander Marques to
carry a package across Europe to Jerome Van Aiken. When the simple
collection turns into a gunfire that ends with the building in flames,
Cold suspects something is up but, after a diversion to his father's
funeral, continues to try and deliver the package. However as the hours
pass, Cold finds that more and more people seem to want either a) the
package, b) Cold stone cold dead or c) both of the above. Unsure of who
these people are or why they want the package (or even what the package
is because, despite everyone in the world betraying him, he is too
"professional" to look inside) Cold tries to sort out right from wrong
and make it out alive.
Call me a stubborn man but although Out For A Kill was a shambles, I still somehow thought that I would give this joint Oblowitz/Seagal film a shot. Very quickly it becomes apparent that the plot isn't going to stand up for longer than 20 minutes which is a problem in a 90 minute film. Taking the usual cliché of an agent being chased by all sides, trying to find a solution, this film forgets to actually write it in such a way that it makes sense or even engages. People pop up all over the place, are thrown out of windows and generally interact with bullets or explosions in one way or another but we don't really know who they are or why they are doing it. In one sense this might have worked by producing a general sense of claustrophobia and tension but it doesn't instead it gives the impression that the writers haven't done much with the story other than drawing up a storyboard where lots of people fall through windows. This lack of effort in the writing is not only at this level but also runs all through the film for example on man behind shot twice by a shotgun (at 10 foot range), falling out a second storey window but turning up alive minutes later with an injury to his side but generally fine otherwise.
With these problems it will be no surprise to find that the characters are poor. Most of them are just cardboard clichés but Cold is the main problem. Here is someone we are meant to like, who is a professional, however he managed to be completely lacking in morals and is closer to the baddies than I'm sure Seagal would have liked. For example he pays some "normal" guy to deliver his car to Germany, thus drawing the bad guys away from him problem is, the normal guy was always going to get killed is this a plan that is meant to make me like him or care if Cold lives or dies? Maybe this was the point but, if it was, it didn't work because Seagal delivers it just the same as ever loads of mumbles and slightly altering his tone of voice when required to display any emotion. Ryan is a little bit more expressive (and thus fun) but he seems to spend most of his time running away from explosions or reappearing from the dead. The rest of the support is bland, being made up of obscure sports stars turned actors and lots of people trying to look classy without the material to allow them to do it. Suffice to say that, when none of the cast even manage to outshine Seagal then you know things aren't good.
Overall a poor Seagal film that even fans will struggle to get into. The action is poor and is directed with no flow (or edit longer than a second) and it is too hard to get excited about it. This leaves the story, which is a sorry mess of a plot that makes no effort to engage or make sense of; basically it just relies on people falling through glass and those looking for a complex thriller and not just wasting their time they are deluding themselves. Even Seagal fans (if any remain) will struggle to care about this garbage.
Steven Seagal has starred in some great action flicks down the years but unfortunately this ain't one of em. As other hacks have pointed out on this page, the plot is messy and incoherent and it's difficult most of the time to even work out who are supposed to be the `good guys' and who are supposed to be the `bad guys'. It borrows a major plot element from the movie `Ronin' from a few years back, namely a mysterious package that various mysterious factions are desperate to get their hands on and will walk over corpses in order to do so, and like that movie this one also has a European setting. The plot of `Ronin' was also a bit convoluted and confusing and required the viewer to pay close attention to what was going on. But the `The Foreigner' is far worse. It tries too hard to be intriguing and mysterious and in the process ends up as a complete mess. And then we come to Mr. Seagal himself. Okay, he's the on dark side of 50 now, but that in itself isn't necessarily a barrier to being able to carry off a tough-guy action role. For example, Clint Eastwood was older than Seagal is now when he starred as the hard-as-nails Marine gunnery sergeant in `Heartbreak Ridge' in the mid-1980s, but he carried off that role superbly and convincingly because he was lean, mean and obviously very fit. Seagal on the other hand has quite clearly gone to seed, allowing himself to balloon (as others have also pointed out here) to almost Brando-esque proportions and quite frankly looked laughable here. And then there's that annoying, headache-inducing `fast-motion, slow-motion' camerawork that unfortunately seems to be all the rage with movie-makers right now. Hopefully it's a trend will soon die out (that movie `The Matrix' has got a lot to answer for). In a nutshell sub-standard and very typical `straight-to-video' fare and really only recommended for die-hard Seagal enthusiasts. 3 out of 10 (and I'm being generous).
This has got to be THE worst Steven Segal movie I have ever watched (even
worse than eco-piffle like On Deadly Ground & Fire Down
I'll start with the good points..., It's got stylish direction for a
DTV movie and has wonderful scenry... That's it!
The story dosen't really go anywhere, it's just an array of well
staged set pieces just so seagal go shoot bad guys (the body count can
easily match Tarantino at his bloodiest!).
The plot is needlessly complicated and confusing you forget who the good
bad guys are.
The acting (I use the term loosely) is mediocre at best, seagal's usual
constipated expression and wooden acting I can take but the others
especially the Brits were down right terrible.
What's in the package? Why are bad guys after it? Is seagal being set up?
WHO GIVES A S***!
When I rented this movie at my local Blockbuster (Once i'd paid) the assistant laughed at me and said it was the worst movie in the shop I could have picked! (I felt like punching him till my arm went numb)
Anyway, I haven't seen Half Past Dead or Out for a kill yet and i daren't go back for more humiliation at my store, but they can't be anyworse than this turkey
The soundtrack is supposed to be young and hip - It just gave me a suuden urge for half a dozen asprins.
All in all this is Seagal at his WORST! The guy who's gained about 100Ibs and looks well past it, he's a guy who just doesn't no when to stop, he should retire gracefully NOW! and have a go behind the camera or become a Martial arts teacher or something.
My rating 2/10 (1 point for scenery)
Im hoping this was made before Half Past Dead and Exit Wounds because it
rubbish, Seagal wasnt to blame it was down to the crap directing when the
few action scenes took place. The plot was also confusing and basically
just felt rushed out, maybe it was shelved and released to capitalise on
Seagals newer films??
He's not through yet, bring on Under Siege 3 and loose some weight!
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