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Banker, The
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by Jack Sommersby

"Unusual Serial-Killer Tale"
3 stars

Went straight to home video, but it's not a movie anyone really needs to be ashamed over.

The title character in this ludicrous but admittedly enjoyable Los Angeles crime tale is named Spaulding Osbourne, one of the U.S's most powerful bankers who just happens to have a penchant for ritually slaughtering beautiful high-class prostitutes, first killing them with a laser-sighted bow-and-arrow gun and then dissecting them with surgical precision and carving a primitive South American symbol onto their bodies. Osbourne, exceedingly wealthy and influential in the this City of Angels (in which he's far from one), doesn't need to expose himself to such risk, but he's certifiably loony-tunes and views himself trapped in his white-collar life beholden to boring numbers and spread-sheets as interfering with his metaphysical destiny - he views himself as the ultimate hunter and innately craves the visceral intensity and payoff that comes with killing yet hypocritically doesn't give his quarry much of a fighting chance. (The license plate on his red Lamborghini reads Hunter 1.) The relatively-unknown actor Duncan Regehr is in his early forties and is exceedingly handsome with something of a tanned reptilian look about him along with a powerfully built physique that makes him stand apart from most of cinema's heavies; two years prior he was engagingly effective as none other than Count Dracula in the fine children's entertainment "The Monster Squad" and more than registers on the silver screen - you've rarely encountered a thespian quite like him given his unusual idiosyncracies. He's far from complex, but he manages to operate on his own weird wavelength that draws us to him never knowing what in the world he's going to do next. Osbourne's chief adversary is a county-sheriff's homicide detective, played by that ever-reliable B-movie veteran Robert Forster, determined to stop the spree of mayhem; and though the character doesn't have the levels of the villain, Forster nevertheless gives it his typical all (in a particularly nice touch, the detective is summoned for duty by his captain, finding him drunkenly passed out in his kid's treehouse on the front lawn). The capable Shannon Reed convincingly plays the cop's ex-wife who's aiming to be a star investigative reporter for her television network, and Jeff Conaway makes an indelible impression as a prestigious pimp who's unwittingly supplying the women for Osbourne's kills. Both contextually and stylistically, "The Banker" pales by comparison to the similar, far-superior "White of the Eye," but on its own demanding terms it's passable stuff all the same; at the very least it's definitely preferable to William Lustig's lackluster "Relentless" that was released the same year, with the woefully miscast Judd Nelson not holding a candle to Regehr's variety and verify on admirable display here. Oh, the finale could've been bettered where Osbourne unwisely backs himself into such a surmountable corner just so the conflict can be easily resolved, but Osbourne is pretty much beyond reach at this point in that it's either do or die in his sicko mind-set where for him being released from his paper-pushing existence is, in its own warped way, a form of existential nirvana. He simply wasn't cut out to function in anything even remotely resembling a rudimentary professional kind of way. The movie is ultimately a sly anti-white-collar parable within a formulaic structure.

For its few fans, a 4k remaster has been released on Blu-Ray.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=33911&reviewer=327
originally posted: 11/22/20 12:05:06
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USA
  20-Jan-1989 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  William Webb

Written by
  Dana Augustine

Cast
  Robert Forster
  Shanna Reed
  Duncan Regehr
  Jeff Conaway
  Leif Garrett



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