Michael Caine plays Jack Carter, a hired gun who is out to avenge the death of his brother, Payback style, by beating up and killing off the guys who ordered his brother's killing. Filled with low-budget action and low-budget eroticism, Michael Caine unfortunately does not make much of an impression as a rough-and-tumble gangster. The picture has its moments, the most memorable of which is when Carter addresses an envelope of evidence to be mailed to "The Vice Squad." Not awful, but hardly a classic.
Roman Polanski's character study is strange, creepy, and often compelling. The freaky foursome in the film are a pair of criminals on the run and a husband and wife in whose home they uninvitedly take up residence. The criminals (including Lionel Stander, the butler from Hart to Hart) turn the husband (Donald Pleasence) into a snivelling fool, while the wife (Françoise Dorléac) is alternately a vamp and a freaked-out basket case. How they interact -- and how this all ends up -- is devilishly interesting, though it's ultimately not terribly believable.