Several obscenities and vulgarities; extreme and excessive gory, graphic violence (X-rated because of this) and murder; and, drug dealing
Rarely has a film been rated X because of extremely gory violence. Older films, such as BLOOD FEAST and A THOUSAND MANIACS, should be X-rated, but they were released before the rating system was implemented. However, recent films like HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER and HELLRAISER have been rated X, then snipped by the editor to achieve an R.
Now comes THE KILLER, a film that can’t get any rating except an X, so the distributor is releasing it without a rating. Jeffrey, a hired killer, wants out of the crime world, but agrees to one last job. During a shootout in a nightclub, Jeff, in a quintessence of cool detachment, wastes an army of hoods without undue muss or fuss; but, when he unintentionally blinds cabaret singer Jennie, he is conscience-stricken.
He befriends her and, haunted by guilt, consents to yet one more killing in order to finance Jennie’s sight-saving operation. His final contract is to kill the head of a drug syndicate, which he does. Still another contract is put out, followed by a double-cross, all with Jeff having to deal with his policeman-buddy Lee, who has to catch the hired gun to save his job.
Jeff wants to leave the city with Jennie, but not before collecting the monies due him from his drug-dealing employer. At a prearranged meeting in an old church, a final gun battle ensues with no less than 10,000 bullets.
The movie lacks the least bit of subtlety, as the camera catches, often in slow motion, every spatter of blood. THE KILLER is an attempt to see how much gory mayhem can be packed into 90 minutes and, in doing so, merely overkills itself.
Produced in Hong Kong, the production credits look shoddy, and the director’s attempt at stylistic editing with long dissolves between shots is hokey. The final battle sequence could be described as both silly and appalling. If this director wanted to know how to orchestrate a gun battle, he would do well to look at such classics as THE UNTOUCHABLES (1988), HELL IS FOR HEROES and FULL METAL JACKET. Those movies portray the grim reality of pain, suffering and death, allowing the audience to feel empathy and sympathy for the screen’s characters. The only thing you feel watching THE KILLER is an immediate urge to get up and walk out.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Contact Circle Releasing, 2445 M Street, NW, Suite 225, Washington, DC 20037 (202) 429-9044.