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Film / Kiler

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The movie that kills... with laughter

Kiler is a highly successful 1997 Polish crime comedy by Juliusz Machulski, starring famous (in Poland) actor Cezary Pazura in the main role.

A notorious gangster known as "The Guillotine" has been assassinated by the Killer - a well-known hitman for hire, who has left a wake of dead bodies through Europe. Jerzy Kiler, a taxi driver, stops to gawk for a moment at the confusion around the crime scene, before he returns to his cab and a drunken passenger in it. The next morning he's rudely awakened by an anti-terrorist group, apprehended and literally carried out of his flat. As it turns out, they found the murder weapon, a sniper rifle, inside his car's trunk and received an anonymous call accusing Jerzy of being the elusive Killer. Despite claiming his innocence and that all this is a huge mistake, he's quickly sent to prison.

To his surprise, "his" reputation gains him a lot of respect from the inmates. After he kills a fellow prisoner completely by accident, even more people start to believe that Jerzy is the real deal. While being transported to another prison, he's broken out by mobsters working for "Siara" - Poland's most fearsome crime lord and Killer's frequent employer. With the police, gangsters and rest of the country taking him for the Killer, Kiler decides that explaining won't do him any good and decides to give in and "be" the Killer - especially after he learns about a container full of cash that Siara and his partner, senator Ferdynand Lipski, acquired by a Landmark Sale of the Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science to a Latino mob boss.

Soundtrack by the one, the only Kuba Sienkiewicz (No relation that we know of).

Tropes in this movie are as follow:

  • A Dog Named "Dog": Played With when Jerzy Kiler is arrested for seemingly being the Killer. Commissioner Ryba, who has been after the assassin for years, gets really peeved about his surname during the hearing.
    Procurator: Go on, first name, last name, occupation.
    Jerzy Kiler: My name is Jerzy Kiler and I work as a cabbie.
    Ryba: Your name is Kiler. And your alias is "the Killer". AND you're A killer! And if you say that this is all a mistake, I'm going to bash your face in!
    Jerzy Kiler: It's a mistake!
    Ryba: ... Lift him up.
    Ryba proceeds to get up, revealing a pair of Red Boxing Gloves on his hands.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: A cargo full of dollars.
  • Asshole Victim: No one cried when the inmate harassing everyone died choking on a salt shaker.
  • A-Team Firing: Zig-zagged when Siara and Lipski's goons shoot at each other at a parking lot. They exchange dozens of shots without taking cover and none of the shots seems to meet its mark... then the goons drop down, one by one. Then it turns out they ALL faked being shot to be safer and see how things develop.
  • Bavarian Firedrill: When the car transporting Kiler broke down, Siara's men recapture him by pretending to be UOP note  officers.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: We have the mafia boss Siara, who wants to kill his partner; the partner, senator Lipski, who, having learned about this double crossing, orders Siara's assassination; Siara's wife, Gabrysia, who wants Kiler to off her husband so she can elope with him (presumably to dump the guy at the earliest convenience); the commissioner Ryba, a Hero Antagonist who wants to put Kiler back behind bars; and finally, the real Killer.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: While escorting Kiler to a new prison after his (accidental) killing of a fellow inmate, the escort stops, because their truck malfunctions. During all this, Jerzy really needs to, in his own words, "drain off the potatoes". The guards don't care, in spite of Kiler's more and more desperate pleas to be let out. Finally, when he's let out by Siara's men, pretending to be UOP, he meekly proclaims:
    Jerzy Kiler: I don't need to anymore, thank you.
    • Later on, when Ryba "recruits" Wąski, one of Siara's top men, to be his informant.
    Ryba: First question: Do you always take a piss with a closed up zipper?
    Wąski: Always!
  • Cassandra Truth: Kiler spends the first act repeating he isn't "The Killer", but no one believes him - especially after the salt shaker incident. After the meeting with Siara, he more or less decides "Sure, Let's Go with That".
  • Celebrity Paradox: Implied. When Kiler enters the flat Siara gave him for the first time, he decides to watch some VHS tapes. One of the films is Pigs (Psy) note , in which Cezary Pazura (Kiler's actor) had a major role.
  • Censor Suds: A rare male example. When Jurek stands up from a bathtub, he has suds covering his crotch area.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Various people, including ordinary citizens, offer Jurek assassination contracts with such casualness you'd think they just want get rid of house pests rather than have someone killed.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • At beginning of the movie, when Kiler gets back to his cab, his drunk client asks what city they're in. Kiler, not in a particularly good mood, says "Las Vegas". The drunk's response?
    Drunk: Really? Then they must have a power outage.
    • When Kiler shows Siara Lipski's wallet (actually a fake) and asks what the "FL" initials stand for.
    Siara: "FL"? Oh, so like we have "PL" on our cars, then "FL", like as in Principality of Liechtenstein. I even have a bank account over there, y'know for a rainy day.
  • The Con: Siara and Lipski actually sell a famous Polish landmark, the Palace of Culture and Science, to a Latino crime boss. He then reveals that plans to get more buildings like this one, showing photos of the exact copies of the Palace all around the world to the surprised criminal duo.
    Siara: The motherfuckers spread out.
  • Death Faked for You: Kiler successfully convinces Siara that Lipski is dead and vice versa, which allows him to collect the cash.
  • Delayed Reaction: When the SWAT teams barges in to arrest Jerzy in the morning. Even after two shotgun blasts and when the entire team has barged in, Kiler is still sleeping. Slowly, he lifts his Sleep Mask, looks around with a blissful smile at the SWAT team surrounding him and pointing their guns at him... and only then starts screaming for his dear life.
  • Die Laughing: The movie tagline, posted at the top of this page, promises this.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The drunk client in Jerzy's cab on the night of Guillotine's murder? That was the real Killer who framed Jerzy.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-Universe. Apparently, the eponymous hitman (for whom Jerzy is mistaken) has a reputation of something of a Lovable Rogue; after Jerzy escapes from prison, random people start approaching him to offer jobs. Even the police (or at least, Ryba's supervisor) admit his killings were probably for the better; the only reason they chase him is because "the number of killers in jail has gotta tally!".
  • Embarrassing First Name: Gabrysia's actual first name is Ryszarda (not "Gabriela", of which "Gabrysia" is normally the diminutive). Outdated and bordering on a Gender-Blender Name.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Siara is very friendly towards Kiler, when they get drunk together, he gets very sentimental and breaks down crying, saying he's "surrounded by criminals" and Kiler is his only friend... except Siara is a ruthless gangster, an adulterer (if his wife is to be believed, he sleeps with female students from a nearby school), and he stands to gain a lot from his "friendship" with Kiler - and is careful not to mention just how much.
    Gabrysia: You need to kill Siara - my husband.
    Kiler: Whaaa? Gabrysia, I like you a lot, but try to understand me. Siara got me out of jail, gave me an apartment, a job! I can't.
    Gabrysia: He only got you out of the slammer to kill Lipski, not because he likes you so much. Siara has very specific plans regarding Lipski's assassination, and me - I just happen to know those plans.
  • Gratuitous English: Plenty of instances throughout the movie.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Parodied. When all gangsters participating in a parking shootout use Hollywood Silencers, the TV reporters who film the whole scene from a distance comment that they will have to mix in gunfire sounds to make the scene more realistic.
  • Ironic Nickname: Kiler's fellow prisoner whom he eventually befriends is nicknamed "Kudłaty" ("shaggy")... despite being completely bald.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ryba interrogates Wąski, Siara's right-hand man, by trapping Wąski's neck in a car window... and then starts slowly accelerating the car as Wąski runs along trying to keep up.
    Ryba: You do know I can shift into second gear... and then into third?
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: When Kiler is taken by the police and says that all this must be a terrible mistake, commissioner Ryba has only this to say:
    Ryba: A "mistake"? My wife's middle name was "Mistake".
  • Mistaken for Badass: The main premise of the movie. Kinda subverted though; while Kiler is no assassin, he makes up for it by being an awesome Chessmaster, thus earning the title, though not in the way everyone expected.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: What Siara and Lipski's orders amount to - do my job, or get capped.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: Kiler's badass status gets further exaggerated after he choked a man to death with a salt shaker in prison. He did. Accidentally.
  • Poor Communication Kills: As a way to repay a debt Jerzy has Iks, his former inmate, acquire 2000 Colombian pesos in order to replicate the half of a 2000 Colombian peso bill that's crucial for the former to sort out his dealings with Siara and Lipski. Iks does so... by getting two bills worth 1000 pesos each. This necessitates Kiler to go for the real thing instead.
    Kiler: This is not 2000 pesos. This is twice 1000 pesos, worth jack-shit each. Isn't that right?!
    Iks: ...yes, and what's the difference?
  • Professional Killer: The Killer, feared across Europe. Amusingly, when Kiler "becomes" the Killer, several people, ranging from mafia bosses, call girls, grocery ladies and the elderly cheerfully offer him contracts. He usually replies with "I'll think about it".
  • Senseless Violins: After deciding that his "Killer" persona will be a Badass in a Nice Suit, Jerzy goes out to town with a violin case... to use it to carry his groceries.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shoot Out the Lock: The SWAT team arresting Kiler does this properly: two blasts with a special shotgun above and below the lock, then forcing the door open with a kick.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The Killer. Jerzy not just coasts on his status, but also manages to build upon it by accident several times.
  • The Starscream: Wąski, Siara's minion in second part betrays him. Fortunately Commisioner Ryba catches them both.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Commissioner Ryba has this attitude at times, especially when he hears that two bar patrons who tried to capture Kiler have not yet regained consciousness when he learns of the incident and wants to have them questioned.
    Commissioner Ryba: [scoffs] What a nation! What a people!
  • Tae Kwon Door: Played for Laughs. Kiler goes into a roadside bar in order to take a leak, at the exact same moment when his face is shown in the news on TV hanging there (which Jerzy himself completely fails to notice, since he's listening to music on headphones and the television is out of his line of sight). Two burly patrons follow him to the bathroom, but as they are about to enter, Kiler suddenly opens the door, hitting them both straight in their faces and knocking out cold purely by accident (and again, remains totally oblivious of what happened). They still haven't regained consciousness by the time police arrives on the scene.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: When Kiler reveals to Lipski that Siara ordered him to kill the senator, he goes on a... colorful tirade.
    Lipski: Siara? He ordered you to kill ME?! That half brain?! That cloned sheep?! That turd dressed up in a golden tracksuit?! He doesn't exist without me!
    Jerzy Kiler: [deadpan] Would you like to talk about it, sir?
    Lipski:... With much fucking pleasure!
  • Unholy Matrimony: Siara and Gabrysia are an Awful Wedded Life variant. A notorious gangster and his greedy wife who both cheat on each other, and are frequently at each other's throats. Gabrysia is also actively plotting her husband's death.
  • Unscrewed Salt Shaker: Used to a lethal effect when Jerzy tries to salt his soup while in prison. The lid falls into the bowl and the prison bully, Uszat, promptly grabs the bowl and pours the entire contents into his mouth, then dies by choking on the lid. This promptly confirms Jerzy's status among the prisoners.