Porter is bad, but his neighbours are worse. Street-wise and tough, an ex-marine, he is betrayed by a one-time partner, and shot in the back by his junkie wife. He survives and returns, looking to recover his share from the robbery of an Asian crime gang. The money has passed into the hands of "the Outfit", a slick gangster organisation that runs the city. He has to make his way through a world populated by heroin dealers, prostitutes, sado-masochists, gunmen and crooked cops, a place where torture is a way of life. His only friend is a former employer, a prostitute, and her loyalty is in question, given she now works for the Outfit. He makes good early progress, but then falls into the hands of Fairfax, the crime boss. Written by
Porter's first name is never revealed; even his wife and then subsequent girlfriend call him Porter. When asked about Porter's first name in the movie, Resnick pauses and then replies, "I don't know. He never called himself anything but Porter." See more »
When Stegman points a revolver at Porter in the car, it is clear from the frontal camera angle that there are no cartridges in the gun's cylinder. See more »
GSW: that's what the hospitals call it: gunshot wound. Doctor has to report it to the police. That makes it hard for guys in my line to get what I call, quality health care.
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Mel (as Parker aka Porter) is a bad guy who comes across as a good guy because everyone else in this flic is even more nasty than he is. It's a simple play on perspective not often utilized in the movies. Usually, the hero is A HERO, white hat and all, even with a few quirks or deficiencies to his character. Not so, here. And the key to the whole picture is buying into Mel as a bad man, all despite his many years in heroic roles beforehand. It works very well, especially in the beginning, where it really needed to. There's an early scene during the credits where Mel forces himself to smile in a mirror, as preparation for putting forth his 'best face' to a teller at a bank. One gets the impression this really is a man unaccustomed to smiling, a sour, angry man. The early scenes also recall the beginning of "Miami Blues," that being a criminal swooping into town and wasting no time in bringing a little terror & hardship on certain select bystanders. There's a danger, in a film sense, of satirizing such moments too much, to the point of slapstick comedy - rather than dark comedy, which it really is. But Mel doesn't mess around here: he means business, bashing scum left & right, and blowing 'em away as he moves up the ladder of an organized crime organization. The rest of the cast is top-notch, by the way. The casting directors must have had a field day on this one. Then Mel himself is beaten; the whole theme of the movie seems to be about pain: how much one can stand; how much one can dish out. It ends up being very cathartic. The cinematography also helps this picture: the photography is quite stark,ultra-crisp, adding to the 'punch' of the whole show. The lines on Mel's face are deeper than ever; he seems to carry years of pain there. And years of guilt, maybe.
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