Monday, 2 January 2012

THE FOREIGNER (2003) Steven Seagal

First off....................Happy new year readers.

After a lengthy break (of which there's been little 'modeling work' to fall back on) the endless (nay, tireless) reviews from the likes of our chums at Direct To Video Connoisseur and Comeuppance Reviews have spurred me (off the cider, and) back to reviewing duff movies. What better a title to choose, than the movie which led Sensei Seagals lamentable descent into DTV lunacy...The Foreigner.

(No, that's NOT Prince Harry)

Big Steve plays Jonathan Cold, a mysterious gun-for-hire (with a 'military' past tm) who is hired to transport a mysterious package from France to Germany (with no questions asked) by a shady Billionaire named Alexander Marquee (under the orders of sinister industrialist Jerome Van Aken) The mysterious package however is also wanted by other various 'bad-guy' types, who'll stop at nothing to retrieve it from Cold. And with that, the chase is on....

(Nor is THAT peter Gabriel)

On the road with the package, Cold is teamed up Dunoir (Max Ryan) and so begins a love-hate (although usually 'hate') sense of trust between the two assassins. This would make for interesting viewing as a game of cat-and-mouse between two highly skilled rivals...But as usual Dunoir hasn't got a snowballs chance in hell, of landing a punch on Cold's chin. So it basically becomes a case of 'double/quadruple cross' pretty much throughout the picture, as Cold leaves not only Dunoir, the rivals...And us (the audience) baffled about the whereabouts (or relevance) of the mysterious package? And for the 'hero' of the movie, Cold certainly lives up his name, by letting a whole lot of innocent people get wasted to save his own hide (Swapping his car and jacket to some luckless tourist, not to mention the many innocents blown up at a train station)


And sadly the confusion doesn't stop there, because even the 'linkage' scenes are rather jumbled also. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, as you'd expect Spy Thrillers are meant to have red-herrings and a haphazard sense of logic...but these lapses are usually resolved, come the end credits. Regrettably, The Foreigner makes little sense throughout, and not content with one confusing story, it throws up another four or five pointless and unexplained sub-plots (none of which receive 'closure')

(The Foreigner III: Grave danger....geddit?)

First off, it's established that Cold is ex-KGB (?) But that his brother is active C.I.A, whilst their recently deceased father was a 'American Ambassador to Poland' (divided-family-loyalties indeed?) all of these sub-plots add up to nothing, come the end of the movie.

Then there's the 'Package'....Which turns out (upon inspection by Cold) to be the 'Black-Box' recording equipment from a passenger plane that was blown up by a missile. But it's never really explained why such secrecy or security of the box is warranted (nor needed) as it's common knowledge to all and sundry, that the plane was bombed. And why not intercept the package from the (relatively harmless) people that Cold and Dunoir pick it up from?


And finally, Cold teaming up with a Merideth, (ex-wife of Van Aken) who is apparently threatening to break the story of the black box (wish she'd break it to the scriptwriter) as means of gaining custody of her daughter? Talk about a messy divorce.

("yeah, sure I'll look away")

Maybe none of this would matter a wet fucking fart, if the movie had at least some kick-ass Seagal action. Alas it seems, in 2003 Big Steve was trying to distance himself from out and out action fare, and the movie has about 2 (yes, TWO) fight scenes. Neither of them are up to scratch on previous (and subsequent) offerings, but at least we get a pumping 'techno' soundtrack during such limited pugilism. Which is a shame, because Director Michael Oblowitz throws in some great camera-work and opticals...Just a shame they serve only to 'sprinkle stardust on a turd'

(Being handcuffed to a parkour performer had it's flaws)

Not that I didn't enjoy it (hey, it's still Seagal after-all) but the average moviegoer (expecting another Under Siege) will feel either baffled, bored or short-changed (possibly all three?) But it did seem to kickstart the trend in 'euro-set' Seagal flicks with overly complex storylines, that serve only to fill out either a under-written script or actual lack of Seagal presence/interest. Seagal would (and still does) continue to throw in the 'Ex-CIA-Covert-Agent' persona into most of his characters, but to usually more enjoyable effect. However this time, when placed in such a lumbering story frame, it becomes a case of "All talk-No walk"....which sadly sums up The Foreigner much better than my (similar) lumbering, ill-thought out review. At worst, it's a dull and cryptic spy movie that makes little sense. At best, it looks great and is light years ahead of tosh like True Justice. So really it depends on your Seagal-Tolerance levels?

Franchise Pictures had this green-lit for a cinema release, but the lack of fights, confusing plot and luke warm box-office of Half Past Dead, let to the path of STV that would see Seagal make no less than 23 movies in the following 9 years (yet is still accused of being a lazy actor?) Seagal teamed up with Oblowitz for (the equally baffling, but fight-friendly) Out For A kill the same year, with slightly better results. What's worse is, Seagal felt the character of Jonathan Cold interesting enough, to warrant a sequel of sorts (called Black Dawn) in 2005

Classic Dialogue:

Cold (to Dunoir) "If you touch it again, I will blow your 2-inch dick off"

(Whoever smelt it...dealt it)


  1. Good review and hilarious captions. Thanks for the plug.

    Keep up the great work. Making fun of Seagal doesn't get old!

  2. Good to be back. Need to review more stuff. I might review some stuff tonight?

  3. It's funny, I seem to be in the minority on this one, because I really enjoyed it. It felt like a mix of great Noir and low-budget action, like Le Samourai with Seagal in the lead. And thank you too for the plug, that was great!

  4. Compared to some of the dreck he's churning out recently (namely TRUE JUSTICE) I think THE FOREIGNER holds up pretty well. The opticals are great, and I picked up on the Noir-ish/Alain Delon themes, also...but it was too complex for it's own (and the 'biff-em-up fans) good.

    A few more fights (and a bit less waffle) it would have been a stone cold classic. I remember my similar feeling when I first saw THE PATRIOT....I kept thinking to myself...Where's the action?

    I think that THE FOREIGNER had a healthy $16m budget? Seagal could make 'A DANGEROUS MAN' 3 times over, with that much money nowadays!

  5. We need to watch more Seagal movies for the site! We are putting this one (and Out For A Kill) on the fast track!

    Just watched Out Of Reach with my buddies and they loved the complete goofiness and Seagal's laziness.