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A Shock to the System (1990)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Thriller  |  23 March 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,934 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 16 critic

When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to 'level' the playing ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Graham Marshall
Stella Anderson
Robert Benham
Leslie Marshall
Lt. Laker
Melanie O'Conner
George Brewster
Barbara Baxley ...
Tara Liston
Henry Park
Kent Broadhurst ...
Executive #1
Executive #2
Executive #3
Sam Schacht ...
David Jones
Christopher Durang ...
Convention Speaker


When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away, sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to 'level' the playing field, both professionally and personally. Michael Caine delivers an electrifying performance as Graham Marshall, who quickly catches onto the possibilities as he clears all the hurdles to occupy the corner office. Written by Edgy01

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Killing is easy... Getting away with it is murder. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 March 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abrakadabra  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,417,056 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was selected to screen at the Deauville Film Festival in 1990 where the movie and director Jan Egleson were nominated for the Critics Award. See more »


A detective questions Michael Caine's secretary and writes down his telephone number on a piece of notepad paper for her. Later, when she decides to call him, she has his business card. See more »


[first lines]
Graham Marshall: It all began one night when the lights went out.
See more »


Version of The Ax (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Never has such a Machiavellian killer seemed so appealing.
26 July 1999 | by (San Diego, CA) – See all my reviews

Michael Caine keeps piling up the bodies, but you always seem to be on his side. There's no heart-pounding action, just an intense game of criminal chess where Caine stays one step ahead of the competition.

This is a seriously satisfying flick for anyone who's ever wanted to take out some of your co-workers.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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