Sunday, 16 January 2011

THE KILLING MAN (1994) Jeff Wincott

One of my favourite DTV rentals (and one of my first DVD purchases) was this classic Canuxploitation flick, THE KILLING MAN (a.k.a, KILLING MACHINE in the UK) staring Jeff (the ref) Wincott and 'Rent-A-Bastard' Michael Ironside.

Heavily bandaged amnesiac (Wincott) wakes up in a hospital bed (but clearly NOT a hospital ward) with nothing but flashbacks from a fiery explosion. Doctors enter his darkened room to remove his bandages and reveal that he's had extensive plastic surgery, resulting in a new face.

(with 'Special-Guest-Star' - Bruce Jenner)

Yet everyone remains tight lipped about who he is, why he's here, and why he's force fed violent images on a TV screen. On the plus side, he has a buxom blonde nurse strip off and indulge in (softcore, 90's style, saxophone accompanied) sex with him (Shame on you for not mentioning that in SICKO, Michael Moore!)

("I've got some good news, and bad news")

Enter Dr Green (Ironside) head of a sinister government agency. Green fills in the missing gaps, by explaining to the amnesiac that his real name is Harlin Garrett, that the flashbacks are memories of his former profession (top hitman for the mob) and in payment for his new face and identity, Green would like to recruit him for future work for the "Safety of state security"

("Sign the 'Don't-Throw-A-Knife-In-My-heart' clause of your contract, Jeff?")

But first Green must re-awaken Garrets killer instincts.....First with a fight with the employed guards (led by Greens henchman, Turner) and secondly a low-life Rastafarian criminal (who has just shot an elderly Korean couple eight times each in the face for $73) who Green tosses into Garrets room like a piece of meat.

("Take that, you ruffian!")

Garrett proves his worth to Green (after killing the criminal in self defence) and is set free, with his new given identity of 'Danny Grange'. However Green Assures Garrett that he is watching his every move, and can have him killed at any time, should he try to run?

(That damn 'Stephen Baldwin' gets everywhere?)

Racked with guilt over his past (and 'non-plussed' at his future) Garrett walks the streets, sullen, angry and replete with self loathing voice overs. He contemplates suicide at one point, but decides (like George Michael and Andrew Ridgley, before him) to 'Choose Life' (fuck 'Trainspotting'...i hate that overrrated turd of a movie...WHAM rock!)

("Made it ma.......Top of the video charts!")

A chance meeting in a strip bar, reunites Garrett with a former lover (and hinted 'ex-lover') Jane (who doesn't recognise Garrett at first, until he beats the shit out of a Narc for Dr Green, and a gang of drunks) Jane explains that it's no longer safe to be associated with garrett and begs him to leave her alone, for both of their sakes.

(Jeff reminded Jane that the 'Linda Hamilton' look, was sooooo... 1984)

Strolling through a fog filled alleyway, Garrett stops (i.e, 'kicks the living shit out of') two hoods giving a hobo the 'Rodney King Workout' (one of them threatens Garret with "I'm gonna cut your nuts off, motherfucker") Garrett leaves them 'Fubar' were he found them (and with nuts intact) he turns slowly, to notice the hobo extracting brutal retribution on his two (now unconscious) assailants, such is the circle of violence, that our troubled hero knows only too well.

(Jeff went off his trolley)

For his first kill, Green demmands that Garrett kill Jane, as she knows about his new face and identity. Garret agrees, but instead tells Jane to leave town, rather than kill her. He lies to Green (who knows bullshit when he smells it) and upon returning to his apartment, Garret is given a travel case, with Jane's severed head inside (obviously a 'one-take-shot', as the actress clearly twitches her face) There really is no escape from Dr Green and his shadowy agency (hell, even David Bradley would be getting the 'Hershey-Squirts' about now)

(Do not ask for 'head, as refusal often offends)

Garretts next 'Mark' is a gay rights activist, Tom Baker (No...not the fourth Doctor Who) and our hero poses as his limousine driver, and later a potential love interest, to lure the poor sap to his death. After murdering him (off screen) a news report later announces that "Baker was a victim of a bloody sado-masochistic scene that went too far" (so no Columbo's were harmed during that murder investigation, i guess?)

("Just one puff" .... "Fag in mouth" .... Oooh-eerrr!)

Green informs Garrett that his next target is (nosey) 'investigative reporter' David Conner, who is seen discussing his latest 'scoop' with a female scientist, Dr Ann Kendall (more about her, later) Later that night, garrett attempts to kill Conner, but is saved the job, when the reporters (can't-shoot-for-shit) wife attempts to defend her husband (although once again, Columbo would sniff straight through a bullshit 'accidental-shooting-of-husband-plea' before the first ad-break, methinks?)

(Silly bitch, at least look were you're shooting?)

Next on Greens hit-list is the formentioned Ann Kendall, who works at a research centre for AIDS ( activist......nosey reporter.....AIDS refreshingly 90's) Garret decides to befriend the shy, workaholic Dr Kendall, by first pickpocketing her wallet, and then returning it, and also saving her from the over amorous advances of her co-worker (and chief of security) the (under-sexed, over curious) Steve Rodgers (who had previously wooed her with "Working with a homosexual disease all day, can't be good for you?")

("It's not quite miseltoe, but it'll do?")

A few more chance encounters between Garrett and Anne, winds up in (another) softcore sex scene, but it seems that Garrett is not just another 'splash and dash' merchant, he's falling for the dame, thus developing a conscience about killing her. So instead, he opts to break into her laboratory to steal her tests results and reports (which worryingly hint at the prospect of AIDS being a engineered disease...tut, tut, tut, naughty government!)

(Dr Anne Kendall, AIDS researcher ... sleeps with strangers on the second date)

However, with his ego (and ass) bruised, nosey chief of security, Steve rodgers has been doing some snooping on Garretts mysterious past, and is waiting to confront him with his findings. Garrett is even more shocked to find Anne waiting at her lab (and even worse, Dr Green and his henchmen are closing in on the whole shebang!)

("Give me your clothes, boots and hair")

After killing Rodgers (in self defence) Garrett explains to an hysterical Anne that he never intended to kill her, but that they both should skip town (or 'Toronto-Pronto' ho-ho!) Too late...the evil Dr Green and his goons turn up, shoot the shit out of every thing (including Anne) so it's up to garrett to get her to a hospital, whilst indulging in several bouts of 'Heroic Bloodshed' (Canadian style...don't worry Mr Woo) and culminating in a bone-breaking show down with #1 henchman, Turner (replete wth slo-mo punch fu)

(Jeff found a great way to pick up women)

Just as he thinks he's got himself (and a badly injured Anne) out of the building, Green pulls a gun on the love-struck couple. Garrett has a trick (plus a knife) up his sleeve for Dr Green (bye, bye, you nasty Canadian Homophobe!) And we the humble viewer are treat to a 'knifes-eye' shot as the blade heads towards the governmental rotter!

("You promised me in picture five, Jeff")

The police arrive, Anne is carted off to hospital. Garett however, is arrested and taken away in a police car (ready to atone for his previous sins) Sorry folks, no happy endings here (try Beneath The Planet Of The Apes if you want laughs)

(The poignant ending)

THE KILLING MAN is not a out-and-out 'action' flick as such. Wincott kicks a lot of asses (lays a fare bit of pipe, as well) but this movie has a much darker tone than his other flicks. The AIDS storyline, the downbeat scenario, the killing of innocents, and a murderer for a hero, set it apart from routine biff em' ups of the nineties. And i think it's a neat little STV action-thriller. Producer Damian Lee always seemed to be involved in the 'darker' Wincott movies. And this is indeed one of them.

Wincott (as usual) puts in a great performance, handling both and the action and drama with equal aplomb. Ironside is his usual smugly sinister self, and lends a bit of added weight to what is presumably a low-budget (tax-shelter) Canadian production. The rest of the cast are decent enough. The production/camera work are workmanlike and professional enough (the picture quality on my SIMITAR DVD is pretty ropey though!)


  1. I've been considering this one for my next Wincott film. I haven't seen it in a while, but it sounds pretty solid, especially with Michael Ironside too.

  2. I finally made this one happen (which means I was also finally able to read your review-- sweet Andrew Ridgely mention!). I liked it, though it had it's dead spots. Very dark for your run of the mill Canuxploitation.

  3. Good Film, Jeff Wincott is legendary