- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2018

Here’s a look at a pair of man-made disaster films now available in the Blu-ray format featuring a one-man army and one man’s dangerous invention.

The Foreigner (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, rated R, 114 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $34.98) — One father’s obsession against the loss of his only remaining daughter to a terrorist bomb made for a potent action thriller from director Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale” and “Goldeneye”) and is now available in high definition.

Who better to play the vengeful and grieving parent than martial arts master Jackie Chan, who delivers a gritty and emotional performance as Quan, a former Vietnam War special forces operative looking for her killers.

Caught up in a new guerilla war brewing between Britain and Northern Ireland, he must use his fists, acrobatic fighting style and bomb-making prowess to create chaos and disruption to find members of an Irish Republican Army faction responsible for the carnage.

Pierce Brosnan co-stars as the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, Liam Hennessy, who is Quan’s major target.

Hennessy is a gruff man with a complex past. The level of intensity between the pair is palpable as Quan stalks Hennessy with a quiet resolve and systematically eradicates his bodyguards while looking for the truth.

The film offers a study in rage fueled by Mr. Chan’s heartbreaking as well as ferocious stare, and Irish accents that are thick and full of fury all around him.

Best extras: A trio of solo, sit-down interview segments with the key personnel — Mr. Campbell, Mr. Chan and Mr. Brosnan — offers an almost 30-minute overview of the main characters in the movie, and tackles their motivations and backgrounds.

Mr. Chan offers the most genuine detail about joining the film, while Mr. Brosnan provides the most complimentary answers and specifically regrets not actually sitting down with his co-star, off the set, during the filming.

Geostorm (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 109 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $35.99) — Director and producer Dean Devlin once again attempts to destroy the planet (reference “Independence Day” and “Godzilla”) but only manage to mangle his reputation in this big-budgeted disaster movie misfire.

The conspiracy thriller starred Gerard Butler as Jake Lawson, a scientist forced into retirement by the U.S. government after deploying a complex collection of satellites. The array was successfully used to extinguish unpredictable meteorological events associated with man-made climate change.

However, when someone hacks his project, Mr. Lawson returns to the International Space Station to figure out who is triggering select weather disasters ranging from city-engulfing tsunamis to freezing airplanes out of the sky.

Solving this mystery could ultimately prevent a massive, planet-engulfing geostorm getting released, threatening to destroy select parts of the human race.

Offering a collection of special effects that Irwin Allen might appreciate, the film is not necessarily terrible but certainly wastes a viewer’s time with a telegraphed plot and spending more effort on humans arguing and less with the outrageous “Moonraker”-style ending.

Mr. Butler gets limited support from Jim Sturgess as his argumentative brother Max, Andy Garcia as the president, and the distinguished Ed Harris (who has better things to do with his time) as the secretary of state.

Suffice it to report, viewers should stick with “Deep Impact,” “San Andreas,” “Armageddon” and even “The Towering Inferno” for their fix of disaster film fodder.

What truly was the catastrophic element of this film was allowing creators to spend roughly $120 million to build it.

Does anyone from the scientific community have a better idea on how to spend $120 million?

Best extras: A trio of featurettes offers about 15 minutes worth of interviews from cast and crew covering special effects; the genesis of the film (Devlin’s daughter asking his daddy why global warming can’t be stopped); and the assembling of a barely used international cast with plenty of time trying to justify this mediocre effort.


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