The Foreigner is a 2017 action thriller film directed by Martin Campbell and written by David Marconi, based on the 1992 novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather. The British-Chinese co-production stars Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Michael McElhatton, Liu Tao, Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady and Katie Leung, and follows a businessman who seeks revenge for the death of his daughter.
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
|Screenplay by||David Marconi|
|Based on||The Chinaman
by Stephen Leather
|Music by||Cliff Martinez|
|Edited by||Angela M. Catanzaro|
|Box office||$135.4 million|
Ngoc Minh Quan is a retired Vietnam War special forces operator who now runs a Chinese restaurant in London. When his teenage daughter Fan is killed in a department store bombing claimed by a group calling themselves the “Authentic UDI”, a distraught Quan seeks revenge. He first attempts to bribe Scotland Yard officer Richard Bromley for the names of the bombers, but Bromley refuses to accept the bribe nor reveal any information. Quan next focuses on Irish deputy minister Liam Hennessy, who speaks publicly about his status as a former leader of the Unionist forces while condemning the bombing. Keyi Lam, Quan’s co-worker and personal friend, attempts to console and convince him to move on, but he refuses to be swayed and eventually leaves for Belfast to meet Hennessy. Hennessy claims to have no knowledge of the bombing or its perpetrators, but Quan does not believe him. His queries escalate until he becomes fixated on Hennessy, setting off a homemade bomb in his office and threatening more unless he gets the bombers’ names.
The truth is that Hennessy, while having ordered the bombings to come with warnings as part of a political ploy to solidify the radical factions, does not actually know who the bombers are, as they are rogue members of the UDI. He is in fact outraged that no warnings were given and civilians were killed. Hennessy tries to identify the bombers by changing the code words they use after any bombings are carried out, but the rogue members catch on and outwit him. Meanwhile, he sends numerous mercenaries and personal enforcers after Quan, who manages to escape or defeat all of them. He also observes Hennessy meeting with his mistress, Maggie, and takes a picture of them kissing. Quan then brings the fight to Hennessy, hiding in the woods outside his Belfast farmhouse and attacking it with more homemade bombs. As Hennessy’s men attempt to track him in the woods, Quan uses traps to disable a group of three and attempts to interrogate one of them, but he is shot in the shoulder by a fourth mercenary and flees. Hennessy decides to send for his nephew Sean Morrison, who was part of the Royal Irish Regiment with Bromley, after Quan in hopes that his tracking skills can be used to stop him for good.
As Quan heats up a knife to cauterize the gunshot wound, he faints and has flashbacks of his escape from Vietnam to Singapore where he and his family are attacked by Thai pirates. He and his wife look on hopelessly as his two daughters are taken away, to be raped and murdered by the pirates. As he tried to fight off the pirates, he was eventually thrown overboard along with his his wife (who later died giving birth to Fan).
After a second bombing on a double-decker bus, Hennessy negotiates with his boss, British politician Katherine Davies, and promises the capture of the bombers in exchange for the pardoning of some of his former UDI comrades. Meanwhile, Bromley manages to identify the bombers and relays their identities to Hennessy, who then relays the information to Sean. After a knife fight in the woods, Quan manages to capture Sean, who reveals the name of one of the bombers: Patrick O’Reilly, who was also behind the bombing that killed Sean’s family. In return, Quan decides to let Sean go. Hennessy, meanwhile, interrogates his head enforcer McGrath, discovering that the true mastermind is Mary, Hennessy’s wife, who also hired Maggie; she has never let go of her anger at the British for the death of her brother and resents Hennessy’s working for them. Hennessy executes McGrath for his betrayal and for involving his wife and mistress, then orders Sean to execute Mary—with whom Sean is having an affair—before returning to America.
As the police prepare to raid the bombers’ hideout, Quan manages to enter first under the pretense of fixing a gas leak and single-handedly kills all but Maggie. Quan leaves just before the police raid the apartment and find a severely wounded Maggie, whose real name is Sara McKay. They torture her into revealing the location of their next bomb, which has been planted in a laptop to be detonated on a plane heading to a security conference. British police manage to find and throw the laptop into an empty jet bridge, where it detonates without casualties. With the threat resolved, Bromley orders the operation leave “no traces” and Maggie is executed. Hennessy gets a call from Davies, who tells him that he will retain his position as a politician but will be under her thumb.
Quan confronts Hennessy and shows him the picture of Hennessy kissing Maggie, which is enough to throw suspicion on Hennessy and his role in the bombings. Quan forces him to post the picture to the internet, telling him that he should be ashamed of himself and the whole world will know that he is a terrorist. Meanwhile, Bromley realizes Quan’s role in the events and has him put under surveillance, but decides not to take any further action.
The film ends with Quan returning to his restaurant, and Lam embracing him as he puts the past behind him.
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