THE BANKER (1989) Reviews and free to watch online

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‘His passion is business by day, murder by night.’

The Banker is a 1989 American psycho-thriller in which high-priced call girls are being systematically murdered. The victims’ corpses are mutilated and a bizarre South American symbol painted in their blood is found at the scene. Meanwhile, the hardened cop in charge of investigating the murders before his ex-wife, a TV reporter, becomes the next victim.

Directed by William Webb (Target 2004; The Hit List; Party Line; Dirty Laundry) from a screenplay Dana Augustine, based on a story by Augustine, Richard Brandes and Webb. Produced by Kurt Anderson and William Webb.

The Westwind production stars Robert Forster (The Wolf of Snow Hollow; Jackie Brown; Vigilante; Alligator), Shanna Reed (The Night Caller 1998; Alien Avengers; Rattled; Shadowhunter), Duncan Regehr (The Monster Squad), Jeff Conaway (Alien Intruder; Curse of the Forty-Niner; The Sleeping Car; Elvira: Mistress of the Dark), Leif Garrett (Cheerleader Camp; Death Times Five) and Richard Roundtree (Se7en; Maniac Cop; Q – The Winged Serpent).

[May include spoilers] Reviews:

“The film’s plot is clichéd and the film tends to drag whenever The Banker isn’t out hunting […] Forster has some great dialogue though. On the negative, the gore is non-existent and most of the kills happen off-screen. This horror-thriller/slasher hybrid has an anti-climatic ending and too many dull moments with Forster’s ex-wife character to make it a classic.” 80s Horror Central

” …the biggest attribute of The Banker is clearly Forster, who’s never less than a joy to watch and does great work with the sufficiently witty dialogue he’s given.  Whether he’s making passive-aggressive comments to his ex-wife about their dog or advising his never-seen snitch Ira to remember to gargle, he’s a fully-formed character, and one that makes The Banker a worthwhile ride…” Daily Grindhouse

“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 […] The movie is ultimately a sly anti-white-collar parable within a formulaic structure.” eFilmCritic

The Banker dutifully follows the formula and makes sure to hit all the DTV marks of its day that would become genre standard well into the ’90s: a smart-ass cop, a crazed killer, some chase scenes, some bloody murders, gratuitous nudity […] It’s nothing special, but Robert Forster certainly was.” Good Efficient Butchery

“Exploitative elements are present and accounted for, the cast has a strong B picture flavor and there’s a late-80s vibe that, if that’s the sort of thing you like, you’ll like a lot! But at the same time, it should have been a lot better, or at least not such a flatty!” Ha ha, it’s Burl!

” …the film uninterestingly winds its way through the run of the psycho/slasher film cliches, all peppered with a requisite amount of gratuitous nudity, to finally arrive at a predictable end. The film trades most of these possibilities for routine subplots dealing with Shanna Reed’s TV campaign and a mundane police procedural.” Moria

” …despite the low aspirations and the devastating lack of originality, The Banker functions quite effectively as a sort of homage to other movies of its type. Regehr, as the Brit-accented serial killer, is no Anthony Hopkins, but he does do a passable Jeremy Irons, albeit a Jeremy Irons trapped in a musclebuilder’s body. Forster captures a hint of Peter Falk…” Noirish

” …it held my attention throughout, and as the film progressed, it just got weirder and weirder, which was a blessing for sure, as this could easily have been a paint-by-numbers, and easily forgotten thriller. It’s a sleazy, neon-drenched, amusing, gritty, violent, and at times wacky thriller that I would consider a pleasant surprise if you’re in the right mood.” Robot Geek’s Cult Cinema

“Given a low budget, it’s not a bad little unrated police procedural. The actors (including Bobby from Taxi and the original Shaft) are competent, there is some humor, the villain is pure evil, there is excellent nudity from Teri Weigel, and the story moves along well.” Uncle Scoopy’s Movie House

“At least this one tried to be a bit different.  If anything it’s worth checking out for the amusing casting […]  Where else are you going to see Jeff Conaway and Leif Garrett as pimps?  Forster, who’s probably never given a bad performance, does a good job here as the hero and Roundtree does what he can with his ten thousandth police captain role.” The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Dan: “That was found next to the remains of a charbroiled pimp.”

Dan [referring to bankers]: ‘They’re all bloodsuckers, Lloyd. This guy happens to be the real thing.”

Cast and characters:

Robert Forster … Dan
Shanna Reed … Sharon
Duncan Regehr … Spaulding Osbourne
Jeff Conaway … Cowboy
Leif Garrett … Fowler
Richard Roundtree … Lloyd
Michael Fairman … Fred
Juan Garcia … Eddie (as Juan García)
Deborah Richter … Melanie
Teri Weigel … Jaynie
Michael Spielmann … Paperboy
Marty Dudek … Maggie
Joey Green … Ricky
Julie Hayek … Terry
John T. Olsen … Floor Director

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

92 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Stereo


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