August 03, 2003

The Foreigner

The Foreigner (USA Network broadcast)

I was going to rent this Steven Seagal action flick, then it obligingly showed up on USA network tonight.

I've wanted to see this movie because it features my secondmost favourite actor ever, Gary Raymond. My firstmost favourite actor ever is Richard Burton. In fact, here are Gary Raymond and Richard Burton together in Look Back in Anger (1958):

Gary Raymond on the left, Richard Burton on the right

There are many other actors on my list, from Laughton to Jacobi and Hepburn to Dench, but there is a serious soft spot in my heart for a sweet, kind, generous gentleman like Gary Raymond. Gary Raymond was ravishing in Jason and the Argonauts, in which he wore very short tunics. Richard Burton was ravishing in many movies involving swords, sandals, and short skirts on men. You may note a theme. I do love those swords and sandals. But I also love finely tuned acting and an actor with a rich, mellifluous voice who knows how to use it to work every subtle nuance from the best of scripts and the very worst. Happy Argonauts

What we have here, in The Foreigner, is the very worst.

It's hardly worth reviewing.

I am approximately the most diehard fan Gary Raymond has ever had, but I could barely stand watching this film. Part of that might have had to do with the nonstop, bloody, explosive violence, which includes a close-up of a man having his midriff blown up. I think that's what happened—like much of the film, the violence was fuzzy and difficult to figure out.

Now, a friend of mine has a theory that, because once she told the actor that his fans in Canada and the US don't get to see much of his work, since he mainly works in theatre in England, he seized an opportunity to work in a film sure to have a North American release. I'd like to think he did it for the money and has showered his grandkids with pretty toys. Because I'd hate to be responsible in any way for this film. Although, let me say this, in case he should ever surf by: Your fans are always thrilled to see you. Many people have bought this movie on DVD just for you. And we appreciate it. But... you think you might bring a stage production of Dear Liar or King Lear over to Toronto or Chicago some day, instead of doing another one of these?

See--very sweetOh, The Plot

I tried lubricating the viewing with the application of a Ghibli (equal parts lime, rum, and whiskey, best taken with crushed ice and sugar unless you are a manly man), but even inebriation didn't help. It certainly didn't help with deciphering the plot. Someone wants something from someone; and Gary Raymond's character doesn't like Action Hero and calls him a bad name; and some other guy runs around off on his own shooting people until eventually he meets up with Action Hero, who is apparently a "Foreigner," a deep-cover secret agent. Action Hero digs up or is shipped via FedEx or finds under his pillow a box containing the thing everyone wants, and opens it up in a huge abandoned stone warehouse in the middle of a vast plain in Somewhere, Eastern Europe. Please don't make me try to figure out more than that.

GRI am supposing the makeup people intentionally made our man Gary Raymond look older and more the wan, dissolute capitalist type rather than showing him to his best advantage. Possibly to make Action Hero look less tired, aged, and puffy in comparison. Possibly it was my television. Gary Raymond doesn't quite look like himself, and he is a strikingly handsome man these days. A former coworker of mine said swooningly upon meeting him, "He's handsomer than Sean Connery," which I take to be a great compliment coming from a straight guy.

But, you didn't come here to watch me perpetuate my lifelong crush on... well, you know the name. The big ruined warehouse location is pretty darned neat, even though the cinematographer (assuming the film had one) didn't make much use of all its stoney archiness and boarded-up ruination. I hope you don't mind a spoiler: Many people are gunned down on this location, and eventually it blows up.

Yuck. What an awful movie. I'd be surprised if it took more than a couple of days to rehearse and film it. I hope everyone was well compensated. Action Hero's Lust Interest looks surprisingly like Nicole Kidman, which was the only interesting thing to look at in the film other than You Know Who. And what was with that big furry hat?

Inside Food: Herbed tortellini and one very large Ghibli

Previews: Commercials for The Dead Zone and Monk

Posted by OutsideFood at August 3, 2003 11:59 PM

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