Although Edwards has a decent job and pension, he wants to be a “contractor” to bring in money faster. He sets up a meeting with a former mob boss. Edwards knows nothing about contract killing. Never done it before. But in a Career Builder upgrade, he would like to kill people for money. After waiting nearly two weeks for a return call, all the while staying fit by doing pull-ups and push-ups in his apartment, Edwards’ first contract is a local barber. Getting a bad haircut is not taken lightly in these parts. He poses as a barber in period white apron with banded collar. He later uses same apron to pose as a medical doctor with a stethoscope accessory. Almost a costume screen test for Ben Casey. His most recent contract is the former mob boss himself. Now that he has reached an acceptable level of murder, he is sent to Los Angeles where henchmen, Herschel Bernardi and Phillip Pine pick him up at the train station. Barely moving with sunglasses and a calm, restrained voice, he foreshadows the likes of Dirty Harry. Edwards just wants to see Los Angeles before doing anything else. He loves LA. We ride along with an in-car camera for awhile. A real treat as there are plenty of humorous studio projected backdrops signaling a limited budget. Edwards soon starts acting like he is in charge and will take care of the hit when he is good and ready. Pine's patience is running thin. A nervous guy who is beside himself with Edwards’ superior attitude.
Reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote, in a complicated process he wires her TV to explode when she turns it on. But he did not count on a remote control keeping her a distance from the set. Drat! Next, Edwards searches a sporting goods store for the right weapon. A rapier? No. At one point he stops to consider a Gatling gun! With tight security at the witness’ home, the only way to kill her is to get her to the front door. As a distraction, he trains Bernardi’s accuracy in the use of an amateur’s bow and arrow to shoot kerosene-tipped arrows into the nearby brush. Had no idea it was that difficult to shoot an arrow randomly in the air, potentially setting half of California to flames. Despite Edwards’ aversion to guns it is the only way. He pulls the trigger on the high-powered rifle as she opens the door. She falls.
In a sequence that may leave you scratching your head, thinking the DVD has skipped ahead several minutes (or days) or you missed an earlier appearance, out of the blue appears Kathy Browne, female escort. Apparently Edwards called an agency asking for a companion for the evening. Why he is not in a good mood is odd. He has completed his contract and he is home free. Obviously, he has issues with women in general. It is not a particularly fun encounter for her as he treats her with disdain because no one could possibly live up to his superior expectations. His disrespectful comments roll right off her, however. Her role as a slightly ditsy, unassuming lady is noteworthy, yet odd when after only a few sips of wine, she instantly becomes tipsy. She freely shares inside information about who was actually murdered at the door and the newspaper headlines were fake. All of which reveals why she was written into the script. Visibly rattled, Edwards now knows he actually had killed an undercover policewoman. Double drat!
Note: This is a B-movie that seems a decade ahead of itself in a number of ways. I recommend it. One of those quirky gems that few recall. Edwards is fine as a disturbed, angry human with no regard for the sanctity of life. To overcompensate for his aberrant behavior he has developed a superior attitude toward everyone else. I imagine this film disturbed a lot of young minds, including Martin Scorsese, who was highly influenced by it.