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The Foreigner 

Explosives & Prosthetics

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In this dynamic and fast-paced action film, Jackie Chan is a man seeking revenge after his family is killed by an IRA terrorist attack, which the police have, seemingly, done nothing to stop.

Project Breakdown 

Artem were asked to provide a range of standby effects and spectacular set-piece explosions for the film. We also provided soft props, breakaway items and an assortment of realistic wounds and prosthetics worn by the actors and extras.

The major set-piece explosions comprised:

The Knightsbridge Street Explosion

The explosion scene in Knightsbridge involved a motorbike that exploded, cars being blown out of the way and the glass in the nearby buildings blowing out. This was achieved by constructing a motor bike that fell apart and cars that were rigged to bounce at one end. The glass in the buildings was blown out with small explosive charges and compressed air. Spectacular fireballs were made with a dry fuel mix which completely ignites and leaves very little unpleasant residue. For continuity we used smoke machines and fire bars, and fired balsa wood and silicon glass which could be retrieved easily.

The Exploding Bus on Lambeth Bridge

Blowing up a full size bus on Lambeth Bridge required lots of planning, as we only had a four hour closure period for set-up, explosion and clean-up on the day.

Prior to shoot day Artem’s stripped the two iconic red double decker buses of all combustible material, and cut the top decks into the pieces that needed to be torn away. A robust steel frame was installed inside each bus to support the steel mortars used to direct the fireballs, and to ensure that stunt performers and crew on the bus would be safe. Steel cables were used to restrain all the pieces that were meant to blow off. Our Pyrotechnics Supervisor designed the effect using dry fuel fireballs and soft pushers and used a Galaxis wireless firing system to control over 200 separate explosive charges.

We carried out a full scale test for HoDs in the Artem backlot and subsequently transferred the mortar array to the second bus for the shot on Lambeth Bridge. Dummies were used as passengers where necessary and stunt performers were located in a safe area - staggering out of the bus with appropriate wounds.

The Barn Explosion

The last large explosion was blowing up a barn attached to a farmhouse. The prep time for this scene was very short and the house and prestige cars parked nearby were not to be damaged. Toby and his crew only had access to rig on the day of a night shoot. They weakened the timber structure and loaded steel mortars with dry fuel fireballs, and were ready for filming when the Unit started work that night.

Close Proximity Explosives

Jackie Chan’s character, Quan, sets off an improvised explosive in a toilet – again using the dry fuel fireball approach and compressed air which blew the weakened set apart.

An energetic shootout and a breaching charge in the safe house, where our technicians constructed a false floor and realistic pyrotechnic shaped charge which behaved exactly like a real one. We rigged the set with bullet hits and used capsule guns for additional firepower.

All pyrotechnic effects were extensively tested on-site at Artem to ensure that no injury or damage to property would occur when the sequences were shot on location in London streets.

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Soft Props & Prosthetics

Soft and Breakable Props and Miniatures

Our workshop team created the soft rocks, logs, trees and a wooden spiked trap that were needed for specific fight scenes as well as the bomb making material, and a laptop computer with a built in bomb. They also made improvised bows and arrows that fired arrows accurately up to 15m. Another workshop team constructed an airport gangway in miniature as we were unable to blow up a real one at the airport location. (We filmed this sequence in our carpark as an element to be composited in post-production.)


Five amputee performers playing pedestrians and bystanders for the Knightsbridge street explosion were provided with fake limbs with shattered bones, torn flesh and burns that were created by our prosthetic specialist from life casts taken at Artem.

Additional on-set effects work included atmospherics, bullet hits, sparks and improvised weapons and explosives. Our team also provided on-set support of the special props.

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