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. An American-British-Chinese co-production, it stars Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Michael McElhatton, Liu Tao, Charlie Murphy, Orla Brady, and Katie Leung. The film follows a British-Nung Chinese man who seeks vengeance for the death of his eldest daughter.
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
|Screenplay by||David Marconi|
|Based on||The Chinaman|
by Stephen Leather
|Edited by||Angela M. Catanzaro|
|Music by||Cliff Martinez|
|Distributed by||Netflix (United Kingdom)|
Wuzhou Film Distribution (China)
STX Entertainment (United States)
|Box office||$145.4 million|
The Foreigner was released in China on 30 September 2017, in the United States on 13 October 2017, distributed by STXfilms, and in the United Kingdom in December 2017 on Netflix. It grossed $145 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, with the action sequences, score and against type performances of Chan and Brosnan receiving praise.
Ngoc Minh Quan, a widowed former Vietnam War special operations forces soldier, runs a Chinese restaurant in London with his business partner Lam and his teenage daughter Fan. When Fan is killed in a terrorist bombing, Quan seeks revenge. An Irish republican group calling itself the "Authentic IRA" claims responsibility. Quan takes to visiting Scotland Yard daily, asking for names of the bombers, but is told by police chief Commander Bromley that his repeated visits are diverting resources away from the investigation. Bromley advises Quan to be patient and warns him against going after the IRA. Undeterred, Quan takes matters into his own hands and next focus on the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin politician Liam Hennessy, who speaks publicly about his status as a former Provisional IRA leader while outwardly claiming to condemn the attack. Quan purchases items to make homemade weapons and travel to Belfast, leaving the restaurant under Lam's control.
Quan seeks out Hennessy at his office but Hennessy claims to have no knowledge of the bombing or its perpetrators before ejecting him from the premises. Quan does not believe him, and first sets off a homemade bomb in Hennessy's building before leaving a fake explosive on Hennessy's car as warnings unless he gets the bombers' names. Hennessy tells his men to find Quan and stop him. Under pressure from the British government and hoping to shore up his political position ahead of upcoming Northern Irish Assembly elections, Hennessy tries to identify the culprits with help from his contacts and orders that known IRA weapons dumps be searched for missing explosives, but the Authentic IRA catches on and outwits him. Quan observes Hennessy seeing his mistress, Maggie, and photographs them kissing in a restaurant. Hennessy's men find Quan at his guesthouse but he fights them off and escapes.
Quan then brings the fight to Hennessy, hiding in the trees outside his farmhouse and attacking it with more explosives. As Hennessy's henchmen attempt to track him in the forest, Quan uses traps to disable them but is shot in the shoulder and flees. Tending to his wounds, Quan recalls his escape from Vietnam in which his first two daughters were kidnapped and killed by Thai pirates. Hennessy also investigates Quan's background and discovers he was a former guerrilla fighter who was recruited by US special forces in Vietnam. After Quan ambushes Hennessy in his house, the latter contacts his nephew Sean Morrison, a former Royal Irish Regiment soldier, in the hope that Morrison's tracking skills can be used to stop Quan.
Hugh McGrath, one of Hennessy's old IRA commanders during The Troubles, arrives and asks Hennessy why his weapon dumps are being searched. Hennessy tells Hugh that the semtex used in the bombing came from one of his dumps. McGrath denies knowing anything and claims that everything was in order. McGrath then tells Hennessy that he believes the attacks should continue and tries to persuade Hennessy to think the same. Hennessy reveals that he secretly supported the idea of bombings, but believed they should only have been of financial targets that did not involve civilian casualties, before claiming to McGrath that his violent days are over. Angry, McGrath berates Hennessy, claiming that politics has made him soft and that he now cares more about his career rather than the IRA's cause. McGrath then leaves, but not before Hennessy threatens him saying if the bombers aren't caught, then he's going after him next.
After a second bombing on a double-decker bus, Hennessy negotiates with British cabinet minister Katherine Davies and promises the capture of the terrorists in exchange for the pardoning of several of his former IRA comrades. Meanwhile, Hennessy receives intel on the bombers and relays the information to Sean and the police. Commander Bromley finds out that Hugh McGrath is the ringleader of the Authentic IRA and notifies Hennessy of the discovery. Hennessy tortures McGrath into giving him the identities of the bombers with Maggie among them, whose real name is Sara Mackay. The affair was planned to tie Liam to the bombers in case he chose not to support further violence. Hennessy also discovers that the true mastermind of the attacks is his own wife, Mary, who despises the British for the death of her brother, Patrick, and resents Hennessy for allowing his killers to be sent to prison rather than having them murdered. In retaliation for his betrayal and for involving his wife and mistress, Hennessy fatally shoots McGrath. He also learns that Sean leaked information to Mary whilst having an affair with her. Sean finds Quan's hiding place in the forest. After a knife fight, Quan captures Sean, who names the terrorists and their location in London before Quan lets him go. When Sean returns to the farmhouse, Hennessy admonishes his nephew, tells him of a last task that he has for him after which he will have to depart to New York City and never return.
As the police and MI5 prepare to raid the bombers' London hideout, Quan enters the flat disguised as a handyman and kills everyone but Maggie. Quan leaves just before the police storm the apartment and find a severely wounded Maggie. They torture her into disclosing the location of their next bomb, which has been planted in a laptop belonging to a reporter whom Maggie seduced, and is to be detonated on a plane carrying several British dignitaries to an international conference in Rome. With only seconds to spare, British police throw the laptop into an empty jet bridge, where it detonates without casualties. With the threat resolved, Maggie is executed to prevent any "loose ends." Hennessy gets a call from Davies, who was scheduled to be on the targeted flight. She tells him that she has learned of his involvement with the bombers, but having helped prevent the last attack, he will be allowed to retain his position as deputy First Minister, albeit under her control. Sean visits Mary and executes her (presumably his "last task"), thus eliminating the entire Authentic IRA cell.
Quan confronts Hennessy with the picture of him kissing Maggie, which is enough to throw public suspicion on Hennessy and his role in the bombings. He forces Hennessy at gunpoint to post the picture on the internet, publicly exposing his association with the Authentic IRA and destroying his political career. Quan returns to his restaurant in London and reunites with Lam. Scotland Yard realizes Quan's role in the events and has him put under surveillance; on the basis that he thinks that they "owe Quan something", Bromley decides and not to take any further action against Quan and keeps him as "observe and report only." He returns to the restaurant, much to the relief of Lam.
- Jackie Chan as Ngoc Minh Quan, a Nung Chinese former Vietnam War special forces operative turned London restaurateur, who looks for revenge after his daughter is killed in a terrorist bombing.
- Pierce Brosnan as Liam Hennessy, a Sinn Féin politician, the current Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and a former member of the Provisional IRA.
- Michael McElhatton as Jim Kavanagh, Hennesey's second in-command and head of security.
- Liu Tao as Keyi Lam, Quan's friend and co-owner of the restaurant.
- Charlie Murphy as Maggie Dunn/Sara Mackay, Liam's mistress and an undercover member of the Authentic IRA.
- Orla Brady as Mary Hennessy, Liam's wife who continues to maintain radical beliefs.
- Katie Leung as Fan Quan, Ngoc Minh's teenage daughter who is killed in a bombing by the Authentic IRA.
- Ray Fearon as Commander Richard Bromley, head of the Metropolitan Police Service's Counter Terrorism Command.
- Dermot Crowley as Hugh McGrath, an old associate of Hennessy's in the Provisional IRA later revealed to be the Authentic IRA's leader.
- Rory Fleck Byrne as Sean Morrison, an ex Royal Irish Ranger / United Kingdom Special Forces soldier and Liam's nephew.
- Lia Williams as Katherine Davies MP, a British Cabinet Minister.
- Pippa Bennett-Warner as Marissa Levitt, a Counter Terrorism Command detective.
- Simon Kunz as Matthew Rice, an MI5 interrogation expert.
- Roberta Taylor as Mrs. Taylor.
- Rufus Jones as Ian Wood, a news reporter.
- Niall McNamee as Patrick O'Reilly, an Authentic IRA member responsible for carrying out the first bombing which killed Quan's daughter.
- Caolan Byrne as McCormick, a member of the Authentic IRA terrorist cell.
- John Cronin as Denis Fisher, a member of the Authentic IRA terrorist cell.
- Stephen Hogan as Christy Murphy, one of Hennessy's henchmen.
- Aaron Monaghan as Pat Nugent, the bombmaker for the Authentic IRA terrorist cell.
- David Pearse as Billy McMahon, one of Hennessy's henchmen.
- Mark Tandy as Simpson, a news editor and Wood's boss.
- Donna Bernard as Channel A news anchor.
- Scott Sparrow as Daniel Barrie, a Counter Terrorism Command detective.
- Sean Campion as Byaro Cary.
- Sean Gleeson as Billy Mahre.
- Thusitha Jayasundera as Mira, a Counter Terrorism Command officer.
- Jonathan Cullen as Security Expert.
- Grainne Keenan as Beth, Hennessy's secretary.
- Jane Thorne as Mrs. McAllister.
- Stuart Graham as Detective Inspector Donald Greig, Police Service of Northern Ireland.
- Yangmeizi Wang as Quan's wife.
- Milly Zero as Quan's daughter who was kidnapped and killed as Quan's family fled Vietnam.
- David Annen as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- Aden Gillet as Ross, an MI5 operational commander.
On 5 June 2015 it was announced that Jackie Chan would star in the action thriller film The Foreigner, for STX Entertainment, and based on Stephen Leather's novel The Chinaman. Nick Cassavetes initially signed to direct the film, which was adapted from Leather's novel by David Marconi, while Wayne Marc Godfrey was one of the producers. The film is partially set in Walworth, London. On 15 July 2015, Deadline reported that Martin Campbell was instead in talks to direct the film, while Relativity Media would finance. Campbell was paid $2 million for the film. Pierce Brosnan joined the cast alongside Chan in November. Brosnan previously starred in the 1995 film GoldenEye directed by Campbell. Co-stars Liu Tao and Chan attended the Shanghai Film Festival on 11 June 2016 to promote the film.
Principal photography commenced in January 2016. The filming in London of a scene involving the explosion of a bus on Lambeth Bridge caused some alarm, as people were not aware that it was a stunt. Scenes were shot at the Walters & Cohen designed Regent High School in Camden and on Churton Street in Pimlico on 18 February 2016.
Cliff Martinez composed the score.
The Fyzz Facility produced, and is distributing, The Foreigner, in association with Sparkle Roll Media and Huayi Brothers, while STXfilms distributes it theatrically across the United States of America.
It was released on 30 September 2017 in China and 13 October 2017 in the United States. In the Philippines, the film was distributed by Viva International Pictures on 18 October 2017. In the United Kingdom it was released in December 2017 on Netflix. A DVD and Blu-ray released in the United States on 9 January 2018 and 23 January in Canada and the rest of the world.
The Foreigner grossed $34.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $111 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $145.4 million, against a production budget of $35 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film opened alongside Happy Death Day, Marshall and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, and was expected to gross $10–15 million from 2,555 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $4.8 million on its first day, including $855,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to open to $15.5 million, finishing third at the box office behind Happy Death Day and Blade Runner 2049.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 66% based on 126 reviews, with an average rating of 5.99/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Foreigner adheres strictly to action thriller formula, but benefits from committed—and out of character—performances from its talented veteran stars." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 78% of filmgoers gave it positive score.
The film was viewed positively by most critics. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three out of four stars and praised Chan's performance, saying: "It's the most dramatic role Chan has ever tackled, and he plays it with coiled intensity and raw emotional power." Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter also praised Chan, writing, "It's good to see Chan swapping his happy-go-lucky persona for two hours for some gravitas as a tragic rogue with a marked past." John Berra of Screen Daily praised the action sequences, Cliff Martinez's score and the direction, stating "Campbell's unfussy style works well with Chan’s choreography. The star’s willingness to look his 63 years makes the falls look like they really hurt and creates a sense of jeopardy when Quan finds himself outnumbered." He also observed that the film "never commits the cinematic sin of suggesting that terrorism is a threat than can be readily dispatched with a few one-liners." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky for The A.V. Club described the film as "good, lean cut of meat—in other words, a typical Martin Campbell movie, expeditious and cold-blooded in its cross-cut, cloak-and-dagger plotting and violence." The Chicago Reader also commended the performances of Chan and Brosnan and called The Foreigner a "twisty, bracing political thriller, giving Chan room to display his dramatic ability." The Times of India gave a positive review of Campbell's direction and the film's suspense, stating that it can keep viewers "engrossed."
In more mixed reviews, Peter Debruge of Variety wrote "The Foreigner amounts to an above-average but largely by-the-numbers action movie in which Chan does battle with generic thugs and shadowy political forces." Glenn Kenny writing in The New York Times stated Chan "doesn’t deliver the action pizazz here that he used to," criticised the plot as "convoluted" and felt that the use of the IRA as antagonists was outdated in relation to current events.
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