The Windsor Protocol (1996)

Country: Canada / United Kingdom
Director: George Mihalka
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Macha Grenon, Chris Wiggins, Lisa Bronwyn Moore, John Colicos, Alan Thicke
Music: Stanislas Syrewicz
Based on characters from Jack Higgins’ Thunder Point

My memories of the tele movie On Dangerous Ground are not fond ones, so as I loaded up this Sean Dillon adventure I wasn’t expecting too much. But I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. The start is rather confusing though because it assumes that you have seen the previous tele movie Thunder Point. Thankfully there is a brief recap which brings newcomers to the series (or those, like me, who have watched them out of order) up to speed. We are told that towards the end of the second World War, when Hitler knew that he was beat, he smuggled out of Germany a series of documents called the Windsor Protocol. These documents are a list of Nazi sympathisers and access to billions of dollars in funds. This money is intended to start a new Fourth Reich – and if you think any of this is sounding like The Holcroft Covenant, then I’d agree with you! These documents were sealed in a steel suitcase, and placed on a U-boat. The vessel set sale but was never seen again. Now the documents have been found.

This film starts in Montreal, and a world peace conference is taking place. At the conference centre, the press eagerly await the last bus load of delegates. They don’t have to wait too long, as the bus speeds up to the front of the building. From the doors, one of the delegates is tossed out onto the street – beaten, bloodied and dead. Then the bus speeds off, with the other delegates still on board.

A militant group has taken the bus load of politicians hostage. Naturally police pursue the bus as it winds through the streets, but in reality there is little they can do without harming the hostages. The bus drives into a prearranged warehouse and shuts up all the doors and windows. The hostages are marched off the bus and tied up in groups and seated on the concrete floor. Armed guards are positioned around the building, and outside the police surround the building. It’s a standoff.

Meanwhile in London, Sean Dillon (Kyle MacLachlan) is engaged in a particularly nasty bar fight. Just as it looks like Dillon is outnumbered in saunters Brigadier Charles Fergusson (Chris Wiggins). Fergusson and Dillon have quite a history. Fergusson is the head of a British Secret Service unit and he recruits Dillon to complete certain missions. The thing is Dillon is not a willing participant in any of these missions, and Fergusson usually blackmails Dillon into doing his dirty work. And so is the case here. Before you know it, they are both in Montreal. Fergusson has acquired Dillon’s services to resolve the hostage situation. It appears that one of the hostages, Sir Reginald Wheelan is somehow associated with the Windsor Protocol. His father helped bankroll the Nazis. Another hostage is a high profile US Senator named Joplin Hardy (Alan Thicke). Hardy is being touted as a future President of the United States.

At the siege, Dillon poses as a SWAT operative (or the Canadian equivalent) and secrets his way into the warehouse, shooting two guards with tranquiliser darts as he does so. Next he tosses into the mix a particularly noisy sound device – like an alarm. In the noise and confusion, the real SWAT team storm the building. The head terrorist shoots Sir Reginald, only to be cut down by Senator Hardy. Dillon believes the siege was rather suspicious, but he quickly disappears before any questions are asked.

There’s more to the case. Fergusson then takes Dillon to a safe house in Montreal. The house happens to be a tailor shop, and down stairs, Dillon is teamed with Lenore ‘Lennie’ (Lisa Bronwyn Moore), who is a computer genius in charge of tracing the various ‘Protocol’ accounts.

The siege in Montreal has significantly raised Senator Hardy’s profile, and he is quickly promoted to the Minister of the Interior. He is clearly climbing the ladder on the way to the White House. One of the reasons for his rapid climb, is that he has a sizeable bank roll behind him. Now you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see where this is all going – there is a warchest of Nazi money – and a new Senator on the block with a healthy bank balance. Who do you think the Neo-Nazi is?

Kyle MacLachlan, like Rob Lowe before him, is horribly miscast as Dillon, but at least MacLachlan, who has made a career out of playing ‘lighter’ characters, seems to be truly enjoying playing a bad-ass role. John Collicos plays the villain of the piece, Gerhardt Heinzer, who is a Nazi war criminal. It’s great to see Colicos in action again (although he never really went away – as he aged his profile dropped). In the ’70s, along with John Saxon and Michael Ansara, Colicos was one of the most familiar villains on the TV screen. He appeared in The Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie’s Angels, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, Mission Impossible and so much more. Here, once again, he gives another dispicable performance.

Now I am not going to lie to you and say that The Windsor Protocol is a good film, but I feel it is better than I thought it would – or should be. It is certainly miles ahead of On Dangerous Ground. The film has it’s limitations, like budget and lack of and A-grade cast, but it does the best with what it has – and that’s okay.

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