Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of SAS: Rise Of The Black Swan Explained

"SAS: Rise of the Black Swan" is an action-packed thriller that pits one elite soldier against a horde of bloodthirsty mercenaries who take a train full of passengers hostage underneath the Channel Tunnel. Although there's a little more bubbling beneath the surface of this by-the-numbers action movie, the premise is very, very simple: it's "Die Hard" on a train. "Outlander" star Sam Heughan leads the impressive cast as Tom Buckingham, a suspended soldier and the only person on the train that can face off against Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and her team.

Hannah John-Kamen plays Tom's girlfriend, Dr. Sophie Hart — and of course, she's also caught up in the action, just to give the hero a little more motivation than simply saving the day. "Rise of the Black Swan" also boasts a few other fan-favorite stars, with the legendary Andy Serkis appearing as the British government's slimy military man, George Clements. Meanwhile, Tom Wilkinson plays William Lewis, Grace's father and the leader of the Black Swan private army.

But when it comes to the film's explosive final act, it sets up a wider threat that paves the way for a sequel. The stakes could be much higher for Tom Buckingham if Heughan gets another run at the hero. So strap in, this is the ending of "SAS: Rise of the Black Swan," explained.

A government cover-up

The film kicks off when the Black Swan militia razes a village in Georgia under the orders of Prime Minister Atwood (Ray Panthaki) and the British government to make way for a gas pipeline owned by the sinister Britgaz corporation. But when video footage leaks online showing Grace Lewis and her squad executing civilians, the government double-crosses the Black Swans to make it look like the militia acted of their own accord in the village. So to make the government look innocent, the Prime Minister issues a Red Notice for their arrest. It's a betrayal that the Lewis family cannot forgive, especially when William Lewis is killed in the ensuing SAS raid.

Grace is driven by revenge because her father was the only person who understands her psychopathic nature. He even tells her that psychopaths are "incapable" of loving people like the rest of society, which seems like questionable parenting. Aside from holding the train passengers hostage for millions, Grace also threatens to blow up the same gas pipeline that she paved the way for at the start of the film. She's clearly got an anarchic streak inside her, which is why she also leaks footage of Clements confessing that Prime Minister Atwood is the one who sanctioned the massacre. Obviously, this exposes the government's wrongdoing,

The story — based on "SAS: Red Notice" by Andy McNab — clearly wants audiences to sympathize with Tom because he's stuck between the scheming, slippery Prime Minister and the savage Black Swans. He's the only wholly good member of military personnel in the whole film.

Tom v Grace: Dawn of the Psychopath

"Rise of the Black Swan" quickly establishes that Tom has certain psychopathic traits that make him somewhat emotionally unavailable at times. His girlfriend, Dr. Sophie Hart, understandably struggles with this, which is why she's so reluctant to go to Paris with Tom in the first place. These traits give Tom the upper hand on the battlefield because he can put his feelings aside to carry out a mission, making him the perfect soldier in a hostage situation because he's solely focused on wiping out the militia. Sure, he has the extra motivation that Sophie is also caught up in the crisis, but he's an efficient fighter.

And it's Tom's brutal efficiency that catches Grace's eye. She recognizes her own psychopathy in Tom and tries to win him over to her side — which doesn't exactly go down too well. Tom, however, is clearly tempted by her offer, even just for a moment. And why wouldn't he? He'd be able to unleash his personality to make lots of money by working with the Black Swans. Thankfully, Tom's SAS training (and his genuine love for Sophie) has instilled him with a moral compass.

So even when he knows the U.K. government is at fault for this entire situation, Tom realizes that Grace is still a force of nature that has to be stopped. So when she blows up the gas pipeline and escapes to France, Tom tackles Grace in a bloody, unflinching hand-to-hand fight. Obviously, Grace was never going to make it out alive, but yikes, the way Tom stabs her in the throat after a brief conversation is quite savage. Then again, she is a mass murderer who slaughtered innocent people, so let's not be too sympathetic toward her.

Proposing to Sophie

Once Tom manages to save the day and reunites with Sophie, he finally gets the chance to propose to her, but she tearfully says no. Ouch! He may have saved her life as well as most of the hostages on the train, but that doesn't automatically mean she's going to just say yes. Sophie constantly makes Tom aware of her concerns over his personality and the way he shuts off his emotions to deal with a situation. That's not exactly grounds for a healthy relationship. Her worries are only heightened after the Channel Tunnel incident — because she's seen how violent Tom can be when he puts his mind to it.

The doctor even points out that Tom's job exposes him to extreme violence in such a way that he's desensitized to it. Basically, he needs to go to therapy and work through his issues. Then again, this is Hollywood, and the runtime means that the plot needs to wrap up soon to squeeze in that all-important sequel bait.

Thankfully, Tom manages to squeeze out a few tears to show that he's devastated by Sophie's rejection — meaning he is emotionally available after all, yay! Apparently, that's enough to convince her that marrying Tom isn't a risk, and they wind up eloping to Spain to make it official. Cute. Hopefully, his constant exposure to death, destruction, and violence doesn't dampen their honeymoon ...

Sequel bait

With this many big-name stars involved with "Rise of the Black Swan," it was inevitable that writer Laurence Malkin weaved in some sequel bait in case the film is hugely popular among audiences. The big twist of the film is how Tom's best friend, Declan Smith (Tom Hopper) is the one who feeds information to the Black Swans over the course of the film. He's the reason Grace escapes the SAS raid in the film's opening, which obviously leads to more death and destruction.

It's interesting because Declan seems like he's concerned with being a force for good in the world rather than being a mercenary or a terrorist. His only motivation for betraying Tom and the SAS is for a slice of the ransom money that Grace swindled from BritGaz. It's a bizarre turn for the character, but it opens the door for the sequel when he uses all the chaos of the pipeline explosion to sneak away. Later, the British government uses him as its scapegoat, blaming him for the entire pipeline fiasco instead of actually being accountable for its own questionable actions.

If the film does get a second chapter, it'll likely involve Tom hunting down his best friend — because Clements, Andy Serkis' slimy military liaison, calls the hero in the middle of his wedding to say he's found Declan's location. And even though Sophie's previously expressed her concerns about Tom going off on violent missions, she's surprisingly okay with postponing the honeymoon so he can go hunt his former best buddy. Perhaps now that she's got a ring on her finger she feels more secure about their relationship.

Either way, only time will tell if "SAS: Rise of the Black Swan" deserves a second outing or not.