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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Foreigner (2003)

"I think the only thing that is unexpected is that I am still alive."
- Jon Cold (Steven Seagal)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: February 19, 2003

Stars: Steven Seagal, Max Ryan, Sherman Augustas
Director: Michael Oblowitz

Manufacturer: DVDl
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Run Time: 01h:36m:22s
Release Date: January 28, 2003
UPC: 043396098626
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ D-B-B+ D+

DVD Review

I felt comfortable that I could boast to my friends that I did not own a single Steven Seagal film in my extensive collection of DVDs. I was proud of this fact, well, as proud as one could be that they have what can be described as good taste. Perhaps that is a bit harsh so let me restate: I am not a Steven Seagal fan by any stretch of the imagination. So it was easy for me to prepare to dislike his most recent direct to video film, The Foreigner, as I sat down on my couch—then something miraculous happened. No, I didn't like the film, but for once the most colossal flaw in one of his films was not the man himself. Instead, it is a combined effort between the direction and script that make The Foreigner into a complete mess.

Seagal plays Jon Cold, a special agent for hire in Eastern Europe. After the death of his father, Cold agrees to one last job in Warsaw, one that has him carrying a package to Germany. The rules are simple: don't look in the package and you will stay safe from harm. Well, wouldn't you know it, when Jon follows the rules by not opening the package, he is still running for his life. Along the way numerous bad guys are disposed of, and Cold meets up with the wife of the man who wants the package because she knows what he intends to do with it.

Originally intended to be released in Spring of 2003—after it was seen that Seagal may still have a career with the success of Exit Wounds brought him back into the spotlight—The Foreigner is easily the worst film I have seen starring Seagal, and that is saying something. The biggest problem is that the film makes no real sense. The sequence in which events transpire, i.e. from one over-edited action sequence to another, make up a jumbled mess where the plot becomes less coherent by the minute.

One of the small saving graces of any Seagal film has always been that you can count on several intricately choreographed fight sequences. Here, the scenes have a distant approach at the star, showing Seagal in floor-length coats that hide his recent weight gain, but zoom in when the action begins. I can only imagine that these scenes were cut this way because Seagal does not quite move as quickly as he once did, as well as the fact that he pretty much just stands motionless while others shoot weapons and throw fists at him. This is a good sign that Seagal may well just want to hang it up.

Sitting through The Foreigner is a punishment I wish on no one. Not even my enemies.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, The Foreigner has the look and feel of a low budget action film with muted grays and blues, which come off murky. The transfer shows an abundance of grain in several sequences, while the rare occurrences of brighter colors fail to have the vibrancy needed to make the transfer stand out. I noticed no edge enhancement or print flaws to speak of, though the transfer does show a light bit of pixelazation in the darker scenes.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is largely restrained for an action film, though there are a handful of scenes that do a nice job of reinforcing the explosions and fight sequences in both the .1 LFE channel and the surround speakers. Dialogue sounds fine throughout with no distortion or dropouts.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring b>Half Past Dead, I Spy, xXx, and The One
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Trailers for The Foreigner, Half Past Dead, I Spy, xXx, and The One are each included in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly causes The Foreigner to be as bad as it is. Is it Seagal? Is it the direction by Michael Oblowitz? In any case, stay as far away from this film as is humanly possible.


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