How’s this for a gimmick, find a guy who looks like Charles Bronson’s clone, and make a vigilante movie? Give it a title that evokes Bronson at his finest, maybe something like DEATH KISS. That’s just what Rene Perez did and the results are about what you’d expect from the maker of VOLCANO ZOMBIES and ALIEN SHOWDOWN: THE DAY THE OLD WEST STOOD STILL.
The Stranger (Robert Bronzi, ONCE UPON A TIME IN DEADWOOD, CABAL) wanders through the city shooting criminals apparently at random. One minute he’s blowing away pervs in a sex trafficker’s den, (he apparently just leaves the girls to their fate after he’s done). The next he’s splattering drug dealers and looting the bodies. He helps out Ana (Eva Hamilton RUIN ME, OUIJA HOUSE) and her wheelchair-bound little girl for reasons we don’t find out until the end.
In more talented hands DEATH KISS could have been a load of fun. But this was written and directed by Rene Perez. There’s a reason most of his seventeen films have 1 or 2-star ratings on IMDB, he has no talent. Here he seems to want to capture Cannon’s DEATH WISH sequels with the over the top depictions of urban crime, bullet wounds that spray gallons of blood, (not CGI for a change), and unbelievably vile bad guys.
What we get is a film that misses the mark totally. Unlike Paul Kersey in the original DEATH WISH, there’s no connection, no sense of justice when he blows some cartoonish goon away. His backstory is revealed late in the film but it’s too late. We needed a reason to be on his side from the start, not just in time for the final shootout.
It would also have been better if the film had focused on Tyrell (Richard Tyson, BETRAYED, ETERNAL CODE) and his gang from the start. That would at least have given the film a core. Instead, the first half of the film feels like a random string of shootings.
Daniel Baldwin (LADY PSYCHO KILLER, CROSSBREED) pops up sporadically as Dan Forthright the host of Justice Radio. He unleashes long rambling rants about wasting money on lazy welfare recipients. Or about cowardly cops who would rather “waste time” arresting a hard-working man for punching his wife than go after real criminals. And yes, he’s supposed to be one of the good guys.
DEATH KISS is a disaster from start to finish, avoid it at all costs.
DEATH KISS will be available on VOD October 2nd and on DVD December 4th.