The Killing Man

  • 1995
  • Movie
  • R
  • Martial Arts, Political, Thriller

Following the bigger-budgeted POINT OF NO RETURN, this was yet another North American emasculization of LA FEMME NIKITA. Throwing in a smidgen of CLOCKWORK ORANGE and a soupcon of THE PROFESSIONAL for good measure, the movie never adds its own unique flavor to this reheated gruel about a conflicted mercenary reborn as a tool of a right-wing anti-gay faction. As...read more

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Following the bigger-budgeted POINT OF NO RETURN, this was yet another North American emasculization of LA FEMME NIKITA. Throwing in a smidgen of CLOCKWORK ORANGE and a soupcon of THE PROFESSIONAL for good measure, the movie never adds its own unique flavor to this reheated gruel about a

conflicted mercenary reborn as a tool of a right-wing anti-gay faction.

As his memory of being a hit man for the mob resurfaces briefly, killer Harlin Garrett (Jeff Wincott) is given a government employment opportunity he can't refuse. Coercing his trigger-happy mentality with death threats, CIA-type operative Mr. Green (Michael Ironside) enlists Harlin's skills in

ridding the world of a network of concerned politicos, scientists, and journalists who are disseminating info about a governmental suppression of a cure for AIDS. Posing as a chauffeur, Harlin kicks off his killing spree by offing a homosexual politician Baker (Richard Fitzpatrick). After his

second assignment, the killing of a reporter, goes awry, Green becomes displeased with Harlin. This displeasure boils over when Harlin falls for research scientist Ann Kendall (Terri Hawkes), whose boss is in league with Green, and whose security chief Steve Rogers (Michael Copeman) investigates

Harlin on the sly due to his jealousy of this interloper.

Revealing her predicament about going public with AIDS findings to the man who's been sent to silence her, Ann doesn't know which way to turn at her research facility after Harlin is forced to shoot meddlesome Steve for blowing his cover. While a confused Ann flees with secret data and ends up

wounded, Harlin outwits Green's secret militia. Defeating Green's principal henchman despite his own wounds, Harlin knifes Green to death and rescues Ann, only to get pinched by a local SWAT team. The fate of the secret data remains in question after this ambiguous turn of events.

Although the villain of this muddled piece is a reactionary, a sort of avenging angel for the Moral Majority, it's hard to get a handle on how the film really regards his agenda. Troublingly, Harlin doesn't have much of a crisis of conscience about killing the gay politician; it's only after he

finds the love of a good woman that he turns against his murder-for-hire mission. Nowhere in evidence in Wincott's grunting inexpressiveness is there a dimension of grappling with an awakened ethical sense, nor does this cheapjack film make much ironic use of the fact that Martin's skill at

eliminating human life can be brainwashed to fit any occasion. What's truly unsettling is how callously this numbskull action pic uses the plague of contemporary times as a plot-prop for human carnage and macho flag-waving.

Further clogging the arteries of suspense is the entire subplot about the jealous security guard scheming against the anti-hero and the penultimate climactic intervention involving the regular police force; this is strictly hardware overkill in a film that should have spent its final minutes more

profitably, concentrating on the standoff between spook Green and rebel agent Harlin. However one responds to the subtext about AIDS, the film grinds along, unceremoniously touching base with every genre cliche along the way: a superficial romance that doesn't interfere with the copious

head-splitting, a mounting body-count near the ending, and vague audience-identification figure Wincott, whose response to every situation is to kickbox. What a simplistic film like this does is to compromise serious undercurrents by placing the audience in the position of cheering a boob who

thinks with his fists; as a result the audience doesn't have to do any thinking either.(Graphic violence, adult situations, extreme profanity.)

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  • Released: 1995
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Following the bigger-budgeted POINT OF NO RETURN, this was yet another North American emasculization of LA FEMME NIKITA. Throwing in a smidgen of CLOCKWORK ORANGE and a soupcon of THE PROFESSIONAL for good measure, the movie never adds its own unique flavo… (more)

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