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Film / The Saint (2017)

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The Saint is a 2017 espionage thriller Made-for-TV Movie directed by Ernie Barbarash, based on the character of Simon Templar created by Leslie Charteris. Adam Rayner stars in the title role, with Eliza Dushku appearing as Patricia Holm. This was Sir Roger Moore's final appearance in any media, and the film is dedicated to his memory.

An international master thief, Simon Templar, also known as The Saint, is asked by a desperate rich man to find his kidnapped daughter. However, in addition to evading the authorities, Simon must face a dangerous adversary from his past.

The Saint provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Patricia, who is both a consummate computer hacker and a highly skilled martial artist.
  • Adaptational Job Change: In the original books, John Henry Fernack is an NYPD detective. Here, he is an FBI agent.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Presumably the reason Patricia Holm was married to Rayt Marius. She did divorce him, so she got better. Though Simon isn't exactly the picture of respectability himself.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The bulk of the movie revolves around finding stolen money that was supposed to go to humanitarian assistance, and the kidnapping of the daughter of one of the parties involved. However, the ending reveals that the main villain is Xander, the man who killed Simon's mother and father, and that he's a member of an extremely powerful and nefarious organization called the Brotherhood that has a long-running grudge against the Templars. Presumably, this would have become the recurring villain of the TV series if it had been picked up.
  • Archenemy: Rayt Marius, Simon Templar's nemesis from the books, returns in this movie.
  • Battle Couple: Played with. Simon and Patricia are certainly effective in battle together, and have a heavily flirtatious relationship, but they aren't officially a couple. Yet. (At this stage, they've only been working together for a year and there are still many things they don't know about each other's pasts).
  • Bulungi: Double-subverted. First because the nation whose aid money has been stolen is a real country, Nigeria. Second, because its President isn't the corrupt thug stealing from his people that Simon first imagines him to be - he really is trying to get the money to his people, and the thieves are stealing from him too.
  • Calling Card: True to his roots, the Saint leaves small business cards at the scene of his crimes showing a stick figure with a halo.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Rayt Marius knows Simon well enough by now to know he's not simply going to hand over the money for the kidnapped girl, without first trying to save them both.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Simon isn't unwilling to use them, but he does heavily favor deception over brute force. He also won't kill an unarmed man in cold blood, no matter how badly the man deserves it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: "Really, Fernack? Three guns? You only have two arms!" Fully justified at the end, as he still has an Emergency Weapon after he's captured and disarmed.
    Fernack: THAT's why I have three guns!
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: The kids Simon helped cheat on a test got caught because they ignored his advice to deliberately get a couple answers wrong instead of getting perfect scores.
  • The Dragon: Rayt Marius is this to Xander. Xander himself is this to his superiors in the Brotherhood, though very few details are given about the latter.
  • Enemy Mine: Fernack has been chasing the Saint for years. Even after finally capturing him, however, he has enough of a sense of priorities to work with him and risk his escaping again (which inevitably does happen) to save Valecross' kidnapped daughter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Implied to be the reason for Valecross' Heel–Face Turn. As a banker for various dictators and warlords, he didn't mind gouging his clients for money, but stealing aid money is a step too far.
    • Also Simon Templar himself, at least from his FBI opponents' point of view. "Evil" is probably stretching it, but stealing is a crime, especially when it's the basis of your entire lifestyle.
  • Evil Mentor: Xander was Simon Templar's as a child. Even before he murdered Simon's parents, the might-makes-right ideology he was preaching should have raised a few red flags.
  • Exact Words: When Simon was accused of cheating on a test as a boy, he counters that he merely stole the answer sheet. He aced the test on his own merits - the classmates he gave the answer sheet to were the ones who cheated.
  • Hollywood Density: In the opening act, Simon steals gold bullion intended to be used to buy a briefcase nuke. He's shown picking up the bricks as casually as if they were wooden building blocks.
  • I Am Very British: Played for laughs, mainly by Simon himself in self-deprecation.
    Patricia: You're British?
    Simon: To the core. I even understand cricket!
  • I Have Your Wife: Daughter, actually. The villain's response to his banker stealing his (stolen) money and calling the FBI is to have his daughter kidnapped, in exchange for the money's return. The resulting desperation is what prompts him to call the Saint for help.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: The reason Simon can't bring himself to murder Xander in cold blood at the end of the movie.
    Xander: You're weak. Like you father.
    Simon: He wasn't weak. He welcomed you into his home and you betrayed him. But I'd rather be weak than whatever it is you are.
  • Insistent Terminology: Patricia is Simon's associate, not his sidekick. Note that this is Simon, not her, correcting Fernack.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: What we initially see of Valecross' daughter paints her as a spoiled brat with an irrational hatred for her father's new and much younger wife. Turns out, the wife was working with the villains to arrange her kidnapping and Valecross' murder. The movie also ends with Simon and Patricia leaving it up to the daughter what to do with the money in her father's accounts. She chooses to return all of it to the aid project they were pledged to.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The bulk of the wealth Simon steals goes to charity. At the beginning of the movie, he's shown giving his fence a breakdown of where money from his recent gold heist should go, a list that includes groups like Doctors Without Borders, migrant assistance programs, children's hunger programs... Since the people he stole the gold from were arms dealers and their terrorist clients, this doubles as Karmic Thievery.
  • MacGuffin: The main plot of the movie revolves around a gigantic sum of money earmarked for humanitarian assistance in Nigeria, that the villain steals from its rightful recipients, and his banker, experiencing pangs of conscience, steals from him.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: All of the characters are fictional. However, Arnold Valecross' bank, "BICI," is almost certainly a reference to "BCCI," an international bank that was brought down in the late 1980s in a huge scandal after it was found to have laundered money for various dictators, drug cartels, and other nefarious sources (in other words, the same thing Valecross' career has been built on).
  • Non-Idle Rich: The flashbacks to Simon's childhood show that the Templars were a very well-off family of blue bloods, though implied to be a public-minded one. Simon, however, risks his life on a regular basis to steal from the rich and corrupt and give to the poor and impoverished, along with various other heroics. Since his parents were murdered when he was still an early teenager, he may also have counted as an Impoverished Patrician for some of his life. Thanks to his thieving lifestyle, however, he's certainly not hurting for money now.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • We're shown Simon and Patricia's first meeting in the Iraqi desert, but it's never explained what either of them were doing there in the first place.
    • Simon Templar reminisces about one of Rayt Marius' arms shipments through Mali: "I thought that blew up rather nicely!"
    • Simon and Sonali are on bad terms because of their last encounter. All we know is that Sonali's crime involved counterfeit money, in so large an amount that Simon foiled the plan rather than risk destabilizing the world economy.
  • Pilot Movie: The film was actually shot in 2013 and intended to be a lead-in for a proposed TV series. In fact, due to its failure to garner interest in a series it wasn't even intended to be shown to the public at all. It was only after the death of Roger Moore that it was released digitally and as a print-to-order DVD.
  • Remake Cameo: Roger Moore as Jasper. Moore played Simon Templar in the original series from 1962 to 1969.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Arnold Valecross, the banker for the main villain, balks at the idea of stealing millions of dollars in aid money, and when his boss has his daughter kidnapped, brings in the Saint in the hopes of saving her without having to give his boss the stolen money. His daughter is saved and the money ends up where it's supposed to go, but he's murdered in the process.
  • The Reveal:
    • Patricia Holm and Rayt Marius used to be married.
    • The villain behind the attempted theft of the aid money is Xander, Simon's former martial arts instructor, who also murdered his parents.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Xander claims after getting caught at the end that he can get all charges against him dropped with one phone call. But then averted when Fernack counters that they're not going to officially charge him with anything - thanks to a trace on his network activity linking him to suspect foreign groups, they can hold him indefinitely without charges as a terror suspect, and he will never get the opportunity to make that phone call.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Simon Templar's ring tone is the theme from the original TV series. It also plays as incidental music throughout.
    • Teal, The Saint's longtime Scotland Yard foil from the books, gets a brief mention.
  • The Social Darwinist: Xander, who tries to convince Simon as a child that notions like justice and honor don't exist and were invented by the weak to undermine the strong.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Saint has this perfected to nearly Batman-like levels.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Much to Fernack's chagrin, the police detectives assigned to assist him aren't exactly LA's finest.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Agent Cooper at the beginning and end of the movie. Agent Fernack for most of the movie. Additionally, Templar's main police foil from the books, Inspector Teal of Scotland Yard, gets a brief mention.
  • The Teaser: The movie opens with Simon breaking up an arms sales by Russian arms dealers to Middle Eastern terrorists. It has no bearing on the rest of the plot, but serves as an Establishing Character Moment for Simon, illustrating his MO as well as his tempestuous relationship with the authorities.