Jon Voight sleepwalks his way through this would-be thriller about a corrupt lawyer in Chicago's political inner circle. Made for the Showtime Network, THE FIXER was released on home video in 1998.
In Chicago, the main power players are the mayor's office, the courts, the mob, and the press; working with these powers is the "fixer," the man who makes illicit deals which clear up problems encountered by the town's leading citizens. The current fixer is Jack Killoran (Jon Voight), a
second-generation lawyer who inherited the fixer position from his father. Killoran has no problem greasing palms in order to get a new airport and stadium built; however, his conscience troubles him when he has to cover up the murder of a prostitute by a high-powered politico (Karl Pruner). After
suffering an accident which nearly leaves him paralyzed, Killoran decides to get out of the fixer business.
That is more easily said than done: the airport deal is still pending, as is the murder cover-up. The heads of the four powers meet to discuss the situation, and decide Killoran must be "convinced" to finish his duties. Knowing his days may be numbered, Killoran approaches the FBI, but they cannot
pursue an investigation despite the hours of videotape evidence Killoran has collected as an insurance policy. Meanwhile, the mob sends a pair of goons to shake Killoran down at his home; after beating him and threatening to harm his son, Killoran agrees to stay in business, and brokers both the
airport deal and the murder cover-up. By then it is too late, though--the powers have decided that Killoran is too great a risk. They take him out to kill him, but are interrupted by the FBI, who have decided to take down the corrupt powers after all. Though Killoran must do some jail time for his
years of corruption, he does so with a clear conscience.
THE FIXER's core concept--that big cities like Chicago operate on a system of corruption, blackmail, and bribery--shouldn't come as a surprise to most viewers. Still, writer-director Charles Robert Carner (who wrote 1985's legendarily bad GYMKATA) could have put a little more effort into
supporting his premise. Instead, he assembles an "inner circle" made up of the most cliched characters imaginable, like the mob boss who hangs out in the "social club" and the judge who accepts rumpled envelopes full of twenties during his lunch break. With such one-dimensional characters, even
the most plausible premise becomes suspect.
The fate of THE FIXER therefore resides in the hands of its star and executive producer, Jon Voight. Since his reemergence in 1996's MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, Voight has revived his career by playing high-powered men in suits (JOHN GRISHAM'S THE RAINMAKER, ENEMY OF THE STATE) and skuzzy whackos
(ANACONDA, U-TURN). THE FIXER falls into the first category, with Voight expending little more effort than that required to fill out the suit: as a corrupt lawyer he is unimposing; as a rolling-eyed paraplegic he is almost comical; and as a repentant he is unconvincing. Without its star carrying
his weight, THE FIXER gets real boring real fast. (Violence, profanity, extensive nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: NR
- Review: Jon Voight sleepwalks his way through this would-be thriller about a corrupt lawyer in Chicago's political inner circle. Made for the Showtime Network, THE FIXER was released on home video in 1998. In Chicago, the main power players are the mayor's office… (more)