The Foreigner Ending, Explained: Who Is Behind the Attacks?

The 2017 film directed by Martin Campbell, ‘The Foreigner,’ starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan, is a political thriller film with a vengeful father at its narrative center. The film follows a sixty-year-old man, Quan Ngoc Minh, who loses his daughter, Fan, to a terrorist attack in London. Afterward, as the authorities, headed by Counter Terrorism Commander Richard Bromley, look into the attack, they turn their suspicions on Irish individuals. Consequently, in his pursuit of his daughter’s killer’s identity, Quan pursues Ireland’s Deputy Minister, Liam Hennessy, an IRA member, who might know more than he lets on.

Packed with impressive action sequences with a government conspiracy unfolding simultaneously, ‘The Foreigner’ brings an entertaining story of retribution and revenge. If you’re curious about how this story unfolds for Quan and what secrets it unearths, here is everything you need to know about the ending of this film. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Foreigner Plot Synopsis

Fan, a teenager excited about her upcoming dance, meets a cruel end when her dress-shopping day takes a wrong turn, and she becomes one of the many victims of a terrorist bomb blast. However, her father, widower Quan Ngoc Minh, survives the attack. With no other family left, Quan can’t move on with his life and remains stuck on Fan’s death, paying regular visits to Bromley in the hopes of learning the names of his daughter’s killers. Yet, Quan can only return empty-handed each time.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Cabinet Minister, Katherine Davies, contacts Liam Hennessy after tracking the explosives found at the scene back to Ireland with a terrorist group dubbed “Authentic IRA” claiming credit for the attack. When pressed to get information from IRA members like himself, Hennessy subtly asks Davies to consider finalizing the royal pardons for some IRAs suspected of various criminal activities.

Soon, News outlets started reaching out to Hennessy as well due to his political positioning in Ireland. One such on-air appearance notifies Quan of Liam Hennessy, former leader of Sinn Féin and an IRA member. After realizing that Hennessy previously partook in similar acts of violence before his political career, Quan concludes that the man must know something about the recent terrorist attack. As such, when Quan’s persistent efforts to get valuable information from Hennessy over the phone fail, he leaves his old life behind and travels to Belfast to confront the politician.

However, this time, after their meeting goes sour, with Hennessy denying having any knowledge about the bombers, Quan turns to unconventional methods and plants a small chemical bomb in Hennessy’s office bathroom as a warning. Eventually, after Quan’s second such warning, where he plants a bomb in Hennessy’s car, the politician sends his people out to get Quan. Yet, Quan manages to escape, displaying commendable fighting skills learned from his US Special Forces Training.

Hennessy tries to ignore Quan, treating him as a minor threat, and focuses on resolving his relationship with Britain. Still, since he can’t openly aid the other country without unpleasant media implications, Hennessy sends his nephew Sean to inform Bromley of a new plan he has instigated to catch the IRA involved in the attack. Nevertheless, Hennessy has to realize the danger Quan proposes soon. Therefore, he moves to his farmhouse away from the city, hiring hefty security.

Still, Quan follows him out to the countryside and hides in the woods nearby while continuing to deliver threats. As a result, Hennessy’s wife, Mary, who already holds contempt for her cheating husband, moves to London, sure she’ll be safe away from him. Quan’s patience runs out, and he confronts Hennessy at gunpoint, demanding he give Quan names in the next 24 hours. However, the next time the Authentic IRA strikes, targeting a bus in London and leaving numerous dead, Hennessy’s plan to identify them using a code fails, leaving him in hot waters.

The Foreigner Ending: Who Is Behind The Terrorist Attacks?

Much of the film’s central conflict arises from the unknown identity of the aggregators behind the Knightsbridge bombing. The terrorists, dubbed The Authentic IRA, contacted a media outlet to claim credit for the attack and highlight that they targeted the GET bank in opposition to Britain’s occupation of Northern Ireland. Worse yet, the group uses the IRA codeword, thus confirming their affiliation with someone from the latter group, if not the entire organization.

Therefore, Hennessy plays a significant role in Britain’s authorities’ investigation. Davies thinks Hennessy can look into IRA matters and uncover the responsible parties. The arrangement works well for Hennessy, who wants to get royal pardons. If Hennessy successfully procures the pardons, it will improve his reelection chances.

However, as the plot progresses, Hennessy’s true desperation to ensure a successful and long-lasting political career comes out. During Hennessy’s farmhouse arrest, Hugh McGrath, one of his IRA comrades, visits him after Semtex explosives were found missing from his IRA dump, confirming his involvement in the terrorist attack.

Turns out, Hennessy had encouraged his fellow comrades to intimidate Britain with minor attacks. By doing so, Hennessy could have gotten the royal pardons and gained popularity among the masses. However, where Hennessy had intended small attacks on financial targets with zero casualties, McGrath’s approach had taken several lives. Therefore, Hennessy smoothly distanced himself from the operation since he was never explicitly involved.

Instead, Hennessy decides to employ a different route and sell out his comrades to gain the royal pardons. He plants fake codewords among the IRAs, assigning each member a different one so that when the terrorists strike again, they can be traced back to the particular IRA member behind their plan. Nevertheless, Hennessy’s plan leaks after interconnected ploys of infidelity pass the information from Sean to Mary to McGrath.

As such, the next time the terrorists strike, they don’t leave a codeword behind, foiling Hennessy’s plan. Nevertheless, Blomery discovers McGrath’s involvement in the bombings through detective work and gives Hennessy an ultimatum. Consequently, Hennessy forces the identities of the terrorists from McGrath to save his own skin against the Brits. Likewise, he uses Sean’s help to get those names to Quan so that the man would stop hunting him.

Does Quan Avenge His Daughter’s Death?

The narrative takes no time to establish Quan’s tragic predicament. As a war veteran, Quan has lived a difficult life and has seen many disasters. Worse yet, when he was immigrating from Singapore to Britain, Quan lost two of his daughters to Thai pirates. The pirates took Quan and his wife’s kids away before shooting them and pushing them overboard the ship.

Later, Quan’s wife dies while giving birth to Fan, leaving his third daughter to be the only family the man has left. Therefore, when Fan dies such a violent and unjust death, Quan’s life stops in its tracks. Quan can only think about getting justice for Fan and pursues Hennessy, convinced the Irish Minister can give him answers. In the end, Quan stands corrected and learns the identities of the four men and one woman who headed the bombing.

Thus, Quan goes undercover in the terrorists hiding den, a nondescript apartment disguised as a gas repairman looking for a leak in the building. Simultaneously, Bromley and his men prepare an operation against the terrorists. Yet, Quan’s interference prevents the police from attacking, allowing him enough time to enter their apartment and kill the four men. Afterward, as the police barge into the apartment, Quan discreetly leaves.

In the end, Bromley’s men manage to torture information about the latest terrorist attack, targeting a plane full of politicians out of the remaining Authentic IRA member Sara McKay. As such, Bromley prevents the third attack before killing the final terrorist, Sara, to wrap up all loose ends.

Still, Sara’s involvement in the operation keeps one end open. McGrath had planted Sara as a trap for Hennessy by having her seduce the Minister as “Maggie.” As such, Sara, Hennessy’s mistress, can be traced back to Hennessy, implicating him of potential blame for the operation. Davies tries to use this information against him by keeping Hennessy in the government so that they can control such a powerful figure.

However, Quan, who previously spotted Hennessy meeting up with Sara/Maggie, realizes the Minister comes to the same realization. Ultimately, Quan holds Hennessy at gunpoint and makes him upload incriminating pictures of him with Sara on the internet, ensuring everyone knows the Minister’s involvement in terrorist activities.

After all is said and done, Quan returns to his shop in London, Happy Peacock Takeaway, where he is reunited with his friend, Lam. Having avenged Fan’s death entirely, Quan can try to return to his old life. Thankfully, Bromely decides not to take action against Quan despite his illegal killing spree of the terrorists, allowing the old man to live out his days in relative peace.

Read More: Where Was The Foreigner Filmed?