- "You know, you cops got it easy. All you have to do is go to the crime scene and look around a bit. We're the ones that have to clean up the mess, brains and guts and shit."
- ―A cleaner
Squeaky Cleaning Company or more commonly, Cleaners are a group of commandos and the main antagonistic group in Max Payne 2.
The Cleaning Company front was started by Vladimir Lem as a way to keep their true identity from being revealed to the smart cops like Max Payne. They are in fact contract killers working for a man only known as the Boss, who is revealed later to be Vladimir Lem.
They house in an abandoned construction site for Castling Insurance Companies, which is the only place they would normally be found without their disguises on. Seeing that may be the last thing you, in fact, ever see. Their main goal is to stomp anything in Lem's way of controlling the mafia underworld.
They are extremely efficient, going in quickly, quietly, and wiping out the targets, before any cops or security raise their eyebrows in suspicion. They often clean up the crime scenes they work in, leaving no trace of any damage, struggle, or even blood. They always disappear into their vans and drive away to nowhere when they are overwhelmed, or found out, leaving no trace that could lead back to their housing.
It is unknown when the organization is formed but it can assumed that it is founded by Vladimir Lem who wanted to use the group to kill his rivals. It is formed from members of Russian Mob and individual criminals who owes loyalty to their boss. They are used to kill Lem's enemies for various reason, either to undermine his Inner Circle's opposition or to target a person who is a threat to Lem himself. Some are quite cold professional hitmen while others are seems to be recruit and act more like common criminal with one of them complained of being 'green'.
Inner Circle Civil War
The Cleaners are used by Lem to eliminate any Inner Circle members who support Woden, they are enemies with Mona Sax, who was hired by Woden to support the civil war on his side. Max Payne unwittingly joined the war as his first case was in Vlad's own warehouse. While the Cleaners are hired to clear the Mafia attackers sent by Vinnie, they also kill their own gunsmith in order to pin the blame on the Mafia. Although they succeed in killing the gunsmith and taking the weapon stockpile to their HQ, they suffered massive casualties with only few men and their lieutenant, Kaufmann escaping, most being killed by Max Payne
Due to Max Payne's involvement in the case, the Cleaners who were spying on Max for months decided to take action as Mona goes to meet Max. However, nearly all the Cleaners task force are killed by Max, Mona and the apartment residents which are forced to fight including police coming to the scene. Kaufmann soon lead an assault to kill Inner Circle members in the Upper Side Apartments, despite their success, they suffered a heavy blow with their commander and the entire force are killed.
Detective Valerie Winterson, who is Vlad's girlfriend, gave a tip on Vlad about Max and Mona situation. Using the information, the Cleaners attempted to assassinate Mona while killing police officers on the way but she escaped and Max eliminate the hitmen. The Cleaners soon attack Mona's hideout, as Max unknowingly directed Vlad to Mona's location, just like their previous attempts they got killed and were forced to escape. However this time Max got into the back of a Cleaners' van, driving him towards their HQ.
The Cleaners Downfall
As Max entered their HQ, he proceed to slaughter all the Cleaners in sight with Mona enter from the other side and joining the massacre. With their HQ ambushed and destroyed, many Cleaners are killed and escaped. They attempted to get their revenge the next night in the hospital where Max is hospitalized, but they are soon eliminated. Once Max knows about the Cleaners are led by Lem, he headed to Vodka and kill many Russian Mob and discover hard evidence of the Cleaners and Vladimir Lem connection.
Other Cleaners are sent to finish Vinnie's gang who is cut off support from the Punchinellos with the Russian Mob joining in. However, they failed to kill Vinnie due to Max's intervention but caught them in Mona's hideout. Vlad kill Vinnie and blows up the hideout before heading to Woden's manor to kill Woden. The Cleaners are joined by Woden's treasonous bodyguards to kill Woden but Max and Mona enter the manor and killing nearly all the Cleaners in the area. The remaining resistance are protecting Vlad from Max but finally all are killed. The Cleaners are finally dead with their leader killed along with all the members.
Equipment and Tactics
The Cleaners use a wide assortment of weaponry, sometimes wielding sidearms such as Beretta 9mm or Desert Eagle pistols, but often preferring mid-range weaponry such as Ingram machine pistols and Pump-Action Shotguns. They also wield military-grade weaponry, often using the Kalashnikov assault rifle and occasionally the M4 Carbine assault rifle. After switching to full commando gear, they also beginning using the MP5 submachine gun as well. Cleaners often carry and throw grenades, and also fairly often dodge-roll to attempt to evade gunfire.
Cleaner lieutenants wear blue caps and heavy blue jackets over their cleaner jumpsuits. This is a similar outfit to that worn by Kaufman, the Cleaners' field commander, only lacking a ballistic vest. These lieutenants are slightly tougher than regular Cleaners, able to barely survive a Beretta headshot (though a headshot from any other weapon other than the Ingram will still kill them). They are also slightly better skilled than regular Cleaners. They carry similar weaponry as regular Cleaners.
Cleaners equipped with full commando gear wear dark ballistic vests over dark fatigues with black balaclavas covering their heads and faces, strongly resembling the Mercenaries from the first game. Some also wear night-vision goggles. The ballistic vests worn by the Commandos give them increased durability, reducing the damage done by most projectiles and allowing them to survive several torso shots from 9mm pistol rounds before dying, giving them about double the durability of most other enemies. Their armor can still be penetrated by the M4 Carbine or Sniper Rifle. Commandos seem to carry assault rifles more frequently than the regular disguised Cleaners, primarily using the AK-47, but also using the M4 and MP5 more often than disguised Cleaners.
Commando lieutenants have shaved heads and wear black jackets over their flak vests. They have slightly more health and are somewhat better skilled than regular Commandos, though the difference is not very noticeable. They seem to predominately wield the AK-47, as well as the MP5. One or two of them wear ballistic helmets, which protect them from headshots.
Some Cleaners wear partial Commando gear (the dark fatigues and flak vest), but still wear their white Cleaner jumpsuits, with the top portion worn down and tied around their waist. These Cleaners behave similarly to fully equipped Commandoes, but have slightly lower combat skill (though more than the regular Cleaners).
- Vladimir Lem - Leader and founder
- Kaufman - Field leader of the Cleaners
- Mike - Commando
- Mitchum - Commando
- Feller - Commando.
- Andrews - soldier
- Although the Cleaners technically consist of the same group of contract killers as the commandos, they are often depicted as inexperienced and clumsy, a sharp contrast to the commandos' professionalism and cold efficiency.
- There are a number of actual cleaning companies known to use names similar to the Squeaky Cleaning Company:
- In Australia, there is a carpet cleaning service named "The Squeaky Clean Team".
- In England, "The Squeeky Cleaners, Ltd." are a domestic and commercial cleaning company (who, coincidentally, are owned by an ex-military individual).