Each subsequent Rambo release is worse than its predecessor. — Michael Parenti, “Rambo and the Swarthy Hordes.”
Just when you thought British movies about Ireland couldn’t get any worse than Ryan’s Daughter, here comes The Foreigner (again - this time on Netflix) with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan as the neo-Leo McKern character playing the PIRA wife-cheating-scotch-gulping-Irish-sellout-informer-torturer-killer whose paid for treasonous lifestyle of British vassal state luxury in Northern Ireland is repeatedly interrupted by a righteous vendetta-seeking-ersatz-Charlie Chan-cum-Rambo with the most unlikely CV as an American Special Forces Vietnam War Vet sans ear collection of course or at least they don’t show you it.
In short, it’s all bullshit.
Now how, according to the movie’s narrative, this 61-year old Asian mercenary, grows up in Red China and then joins the American Army Special Forces (instead of ARVN) in Vietnam (rather than the USA) is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, he of course has learned all the technological fine arts of killing native people, aka “terrorists”, struggling for national liberation. Whom he then (rightly!) flees from across the sea to Singapore losing everything along the way instead of just taking a U.S. plane out since only some of ARVN got left behind. And then, somehow, he makes it to high priced central London where like a Robert Kline joke: he-has-no-money-but-he-buys-a-nice restaurant. These are all just far-fetched Hollywood story line blanks you won’t ever be able to fill in and nor should you even try.
Not surprisingly it’s just enough for this movie to infer that Jackie Chan’s U.S. commando character, like draft dodging Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo character, was fighting “terrorists” in Vietnam as he now has to do in Northern Ireland. After all the National Liberation Front of Vietnam actually studied and emulated IRA tactics. Tom Barry’s book Guerilla Days in Ireland was their Bible. Too bad more Irish people didn’t take it to heart, because what few still do according to this movie must continue to be killed off once their “Names please!” are given up by this pathetic portrayal of post-GFA IRA betrayal.
So, you get to watch in the meantime the amazingly unbelievable super geriatric Jackie Chan man flashback to murderous non-political Thai pirates who intentionally killed his wife and two daughters. Don’t ask. But apparently, it’s an analogy for the present day “authentic” (movie’s word) political IRA cell based in London that has now recklessly killed Chan’s only remaining third daughter with a store planted bomb while she innocently shopped for her wedding dress. Hence this film’s spurious and all too predictable revenge plot in obvious service to the British state’s theme of our-commandos-good-you’re-terrorists-bad since we all know only British imperialists do collateral damage in the fog of war.
The only thing missing in this stupid Tory flick was the IRA’s mass conversion to Islam and their solidarity marches with ISIS in the Middle East.
Dishonest political conflation like this never makes any sense but when I say “bad imitation” Charlie Chan-cum-Rambo commando movie know Jesus and Rambo both wept when they saw it. Because this was an awful film played by terrible actors! The only thing more insulting than all this MI6 spin were all the Irish actors who knowingly took the soup to get roles in it to say nothing about the other actors of colonial color who obviously never read Franz Fanon.
And to save you all your time and money know that this new age Charlie Chan as Mighty Mouse saves the day by helping the Brits muzzle the rogue IRA cell via electric tortured tits and summary executions of unarmed British subjects. All while a bomb is ticking of course in an unfair effort to blow up, of all people, members of the imperial war criminal British government.
This is all in keeping of course with the British government policy of Ulsterization (let the locals do the killing), Normalization (act like there is nothing abnormal going on here) and Criminalization (always insists that there is nothing political about Irish people trying to end Brit occupation and rule). After all, those uppity Chuckies are (ahem) just like those non-political Thai pirates out to get your money, wives and daughters on the high seas. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Maybe if the IRA had dropped their bombs from planes, like the Brits do, and droned from afar like the Americans do, they’d be held to the same civilian killing as policy standard the Brits and Yanks have held themselves to in among other places the Philippines, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Cuba, Chile, El Salvador, Haiti, East Timor, etc.
Instead as per usual there’ll be no such thinking or commentary about Bomber Harris or murderous Brits in Bagdad, Belfast or Bengal. Except for the Irish nephew of Pierce Brosnan’s character in this movie, playing a Brit Rambo Commando, explaining to Mr. Chan in their male bonding scene that he did what he did in Iraq for his Irish Regiment not Queen and country.
A distinction without a difference but it’s the apt latent homosexual excuse that gets him off so he can later execute Pierce Brosnan’s wife who [spoiler alert] was the god mother all along of this rogue “authentic” IRA cell who understandably hated her quisling husband. So of course, she has to be killed by him to, um, save the British peace in Northern Ireland. Yeah, that’s it! You say peace and I say pacification.
That way Pierce Brosnan’s ex-IRA character can continue sleeping with his girlfriend who [another spoiler alert] is also part of this “authentic” IRA cell and for what it’s worth a British subject. So understandably she is killed with extreme Brit prejudice while lying on her back unarmed, tortured and injured. Now to borrow a phrase from the film: there really are “…no loose ends” to worry about seeing here. LOL!
In fact, the only cream in this crap was the movie’s portrayal of Peirce Brosnan as the obviously fused and confused Adams/McGuinness character, replete with salt and pepper beard, being effectively choke-chained like the imperial poodle he is on MI6’s leash.
As such the best line in the movie was by some non-descript standard Brit babe playing The Right Honorable Overlord of Ireland Minister telling Pierce Brosnan’s Ex-IRA character: “When I say jump - you’ll say how high.”
Kind of says it all really.
The unwitting moral of this story from Whitehall: take it up the ass like Varadkar paying off British bonds because that’s what you get when you give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Since imperial gerrymandering (and any agreement to same) is no stepping stone to national liberation and unification never has been and likely never will be.
Just ask any Viet Cong.
So, don’t waste your time and money on this pernicious little pro-Brit anti-Irish national liberation film unless like Peirce Brosnan you’re a self-loathing Irish dumb ass or a lying Tory or quasi-Tory who believes their own Orwellian discourse.
And lest you think I am anti-English, know that I am just anti-England in Ireland like I am anti-Belgium in the Congo or the U.S. in Vietnam, etc. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Moreover, any film by the Englishman Ken Loach, especially The Wind that Shakes the Barley, is light years better than this pack of Jackie Chan lies and distortions.
My guess is he’d still prefer the Brits in Hong Kong.
⏩Eoghan O’Suilleabhain is a U.S. lawyer and Army veteran. [This movie review was first published for Counterpunch on October 18, 2017 after the movie first came out for general release to the public].