(Jean-Claude Lord, 1989)
Michael Ironside's strong, sympathetic lead performance is almost a liability in this context, because it draws our attention to human beings, which as it turns out are the last thing on this movie's mind - barely-established characters and relationships are cavalierly swatted aside in pursuit of the investigative procedural, which is not how these things are supposed to work. Worse still is the squandering of the social resonances; my first hint should have been that Lisa Langlois' left-wing lawyer is splitting her time between representing psychiatric survivors and the police union, betraying an alienation from real life that only hints at the failures of the final twist to come. After all that fuss and build-up - and genuine emotional investment in Ironside and partner Stefan Wodoslawsky's fates - we're expected to ooh and aah at an uber-conspiratorial, agonizingly long-in-the-tooth news hook whose rank stupidity drags the whole movie down the toilet with it. Not that it wasn't leaning on flush already, given the transparently bogus plot engineering that facilitates the climax - since when do single-union rallies happen in almost-empty stadiums? Even the sleaze is unrealized; Sean McCann makes a pretty run of the mill hit man, and if they're going to exploit the sex industry as a milieu, you'd hope that some lucky escort would be given a character, a voice, a LINE even. Whoever decided that Sir Plummer's mad scientist required an overlay of pathos deserves a particularly sharp kick in the ass.