Friday, December 8, 2017

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Taken For Eejits

Thomas Dixie Elliot reviews a film he watched recently and felt viewers were being "taken for eejits."

I watched the film The Foreigner starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan last night.

I'll begin by saying it was so bad I actually thought it was a parody of revenge films like Death Wish staring the great Charles Bronson. Everything about it was awful. The plot, the Northern Irish accents and the dialogue. There are more plot holes in it than there are pot holes in a country lane in Donegal. The dialogue had you believing that the actors, in particular Brosnan were reading their lines from auto-cues.

A Chinese Man's daughter is killed in a no warning bomb planted by the "Authentic UDI", a breakaway from the 'UDI' who had fought the British in Ireland. We are not told what 'UDI' stands for so we'll take it that it means Ulster Defence of Ireland.

Pierce Brosnan plays the part of Liam Hennessy, an obvious characterization of Gerry Adams but he does refer to himself in an awful Belfast accent, as having been known as the 'Butcher of Bogside'. He should have stuck 'Hi' at the end to make it sound more authentic. Hennessy is the Deputy First Minister, although at times he is referred to as First Minister, (didn't someone check the script before the actors got it? Then again who would read through that again?)

Jackie Chan plays the role of Quan; known as 'The China Man' who owns a Chinese restaurant in London, but wait for this it gets worse, he's a former Vietnam War special forces operator. Quan wants the names of those who killed his only daughter in the bomb.

The British are also demanding names from Hennessy who says he doesn't know who they are but they clearly want to wreck the 'Peace Accord'. Quan goes to Belfast to demand that Hennessy gives him the killer's names. Unlike Gerry Adams, Hennessy tells Quan he has not been a member of the IRA for 30 years. Hold on, the IRA is not mentioned, according to the film it was the 'UDI' who fought the Brits all that time. That script again.

Quan, in his 60s, begins the film walking round like a man nearly crippled with piles but before long he is kicking the shit out of 'UDI' men, while jumping over banisters and leaping from roof tops. He also makes bombs from stuff he bought in a hardware store. Don't they all?

Hennessy is forced to move from his mansion to his farm in the country. He must have got a good deal on those properties from Nama. He has an army of men protecting him but Quan tracks him down. Of course he did. He has his bombs with him and plants one in the stable block. The horses must have been running at Epsom because there were none in it. Quan takes out two of Hennessy's men who wander in with moves that had you thinking he must have a good cream because he was no longer slowed up by piles. He ties them up and leaves them in one of the stables. When the bomb explodes in a fire ball the stable block is totally destroyed but the two boyos are only badly injured.

Hennessy sends for his nephew Morrison, not Danny, who was a former member of the Royal Irish Regiment; aye the Brits, to sort Quan out. Quan is holed up in a forest which looks like an overgrown back garden and he has already Ramboed a fair few of Hennessy's men there. Having sorted a bullet wound out with a red hot knife Quan kicks the shit of the young Morrison and gets the names out of him. Now we know why they handed Hong Kong back without a fight.

Meanwhile the Brits and Hennessy come up with a cunning plan, change the code words for each 'UDI' unit and when they phone in after the next bombing 'we'll' know who's behind it. I thought the 'UDI' had gone away but clearly they had not. There's units everywhere and they have their own dumps which hadn't been decommissioned.

The "Authentic UDI" blow up a bus on a London Bridge but the cunning plan was thwarted because they didn't use a password this time.

If you don't want me ruining the film for you look away now because I'm about to spoil the 'Twist at the end bit'.

It was Hennessy who ordered the bombings, but he wanted warnings phoned in and no deaths. He wanted to use the bombings for political leverage to get.... Fecking OTR letters from the Brits.

The "Authentic UDI" had other ideas though, they wanted the 'Troubles' to start all over again. They had another bomb ready to plant on a plane carrying the government minister to Rome. How they got that bomb into a laptop I'll never know, come to think of it I've an idea how they did it. One of the 'UDI' boyos asked the bomb maker as to how were they going to get it through security and he said, 'We'll think of something'. He must've hid it in the Recycle Bin because they got it through without us finding out how they did it.

Anyway by the time Quan gets to the 'UDI' bombers who are holed up in a luxury London apartment block, nothing but the best, the Brits have the place surrounded. There's rooftop snipers, undercover teams disguised as workers, a team in the apartment above ready to blow down on top of them and they are also able to monitor their movements using heat seeking technology. Ah but Quan sneaks in through a side door and gets into the apartment by pretending to be a maintenance man. 

Before you can say, 'Up The UDI' there's a gun battle in the apartment. Quan firing a sort of sub-machine gun hides behind a bullet proof kitchen table, then a stud wall and fires at the UDI gang who are hiding behind a bullet proof sofa. He takes them all out bar the woman who he leaves for the Brits to torture the whereabouts of the bomb out of.

What about the Brits you ask? They have indeed heard the affray but they spend so much time asking their wrist watches what to do that it's over. When the decision to Go, Go, Go is taken Quan has found himself a coat and a handy wee dog. As the Brits come storming up the stairs and blasting down through the ceiling Quan is taking the lift down past them disguised as a man with his hood up carrying a wee dog.

The problem for poor Hennessy was he had been having an affair with a young lady, who unknown to him, was part of the bombing team. Not only had the Brits a photo but he was soon finding out that should they release it his career was over, therefore from then on out when they said jump he would jump.

Ah but it wasn't over, old Quan not only had the piles again but he too had a photo of the pair. He confronted Hennessy with it on a mobile phone in his hotel room with a gun pointed at him. The choice was his to take, hit send or else. Hennessy hit send and it went online.

It ends with a Brit sniper with his sights on Quan in his restaurant waiting for the kill order but the Brits decide to not to stir fry him.

I checked out the critics to see what they had to write about this crap and was amazed that it got top reviews from even New York and Hollywood film reviewers. Some even compared it to 'Taken' starring Liam Neeson.

Me, I'd say was more Taken for Eejits.


Thomas Dixie Elliot is a Derry artist and a former H Block Blanketman.

Follow Dixie Elliot on Twitter @IsMise_Dixie    


6 comments :

Christopher Owens said...

It began life as a Stephen Leather novel called 'The Chinaman', originally published in 1992, which explains why the thing is all over the place, plot and continuity wise.

Ciarán Cunningham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ciarán Cunningham said...

Just watched the trailer, dont want to see it now in fact.

Niall said...

Precisely why I have never watched anything about here and read very little either.....it is usually so off the beaten track that it is cringe material

Steve R said...

Couldn't have been as bad as Brad Pitt's accent in 'The Devils Own'.

A god-awful movie with a voice that could make yer teeth bleed.

Christopher Owens said...

Best film about the Troubles (and even then it has problems) is 'Elephant' by Alan Clarke. Noted for directing 'Scum', 'Made in Britain' and 'The Firm', it's a thirty minute film with no dialogue and a lot of killing.

Funniest is 'Naked Massacre', a French/Italian horror film from 1976. A Vietnam vet (based on serial killer Richard Speck) ends up in Belfast and proceeds to terrorise a house of nurses. A decent exploitation film for the period.