Film Review Death Kiss, Action Thriller from Rene Perez
The streets are not safe to walk anymore in a city which has become overrun with crime; where trafficking, drugs and murder are happening everywhere. Unhappy with the situation one man continues to take the law into his own hands – Justice has a familiar face and he is cleaning up the Streets one scumbag at a time!
Death Kiss is a new action thriller from writer-director Rene Perez who looks to recapture the dark gritty revenge films of the 70’s, most notably serving as an unofficial continuation of the Death Wish series. Like its predecessors the film it is a bit raw and rough around the edges, but for the fans that is all part of the appeal, as it looks to encapsulate the feel of the original films.
One of the things which first attracted me to the film was the inclusion of Hungarian actor Robert Bronzi, who is best known for his uncanny resemblance to Charles Bronson. Taking on the title role in the film who is credited as The Stranger, Bronzi is perfectly suited to the role.
He may not have the same on-screen presence and charisma as Bronson, but as the character was originally fairly reserved there isn’t much he needs to do to sell the character. The fact he looks so much like Bronson will be enough to satisfy most fans and it was the reason why I was originally interested in the film. Bronzi puts in a good performance trying to replicate the movements and mannerisms of Bronson, with his lingering distant stare and odd mumbling of dialogue – which only becomes noticeable because of the bad dubbing, reminiscent of a spaghetti western.
With crime occurring on almost every street corner the city has an almost lawless feel, which allows for plenty of action. The stranger makes short work of the criminals as he adopts a shoot first, don’t worry about the questions attitude. There is little subtlety in his actions as he shoots many of his victim’s dead in the street, with an entrance wound from the bullet causing blood to spray everywhere upon impact. In my favourite kill, however, he takes a more personal touch, demonstrating just how bad drugs can be for your health.
As he continues to exert his personal justice on the runners, dealers and traffickers, his main adversary in the film is Richard Tyson as the hostile gang leader Tyrell. Tyson seems to relish the opportunity to play the bad guy once again, taking every effort on the screen to make his character unlikeable as possible. It is clear that his reputation is built up through the exploitation and misery of others. Sleazy, self-interested and without any redeeming features, he is not a character which you are going to like. Tyson’s performance brilliant encompasses the dark tone of the film we can see some of the acts which he is capable of, but I would like to have seen the darker side of his character explored even more.
One of the elements I liked in Rene Perez’s take on the series, is the introduction of Daniel Baldwin as the pragmatist radio host Dan Forthright; who we see at various interludes throughout the film. His passionate radio tirade works brilliantly to reiterate the events, thanks to Baldwin’s excellent delivery. Some of his views in the film may lean towards the extreme, but there is always justification behind his comments and I know a lot of people would certainly agree with what is said.
Eva Hamilton gives a good performance as Ana in a sub-story of the film. A single mother who we learn early on has been receiving financial support from The Stranger, but even after a chance meeting still has no idea why? Although their conversations are often one way, with Bronzi maintaining his stance a man of very few words, their relationship creates a contrast to the grim violent reality which is depicted in the rest of the film.
As we begin to learn more about Ana’s past; who perhaps seems more trusting than she should be, you begin to sympathise for her character. Especially as she is one of the only likeable characters in the film along with her daughter. There could be an argument that despite being a vigilante The Stranger is a good person, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he is likeable. Knowing what he does, I don’t know if I would feel comfortable inviting over for a family dinner.
As their relationship develops it begins to show a different side to The Stranger. Although he is still seeming shut off from emotion, it is the only time he shows any real sign of compassion for another. A majority of the people he meets throughout the film are introduced to a bullet and even the victims or those caught in the crossfire are barely acknowledged or shown any sympathy.
Death Kiss is far from being a perfect film, but as a homage to the original Death Wish films, it delivers what you would expect. Rene Perez really embraces the spirit of the original series, with the help of Robert Bronzi taking the lead, whilst adding a few of his own ideas into the mix. This includes some FPS and motion shots which add a modern edge to the style, alongside side some of the more conventional shots you would expect.
Unlike Eli Roth’s Death Wish (2018) remake, Death Kiss this is not aimed at a new generation of fans but those who enjoy the original series, therefore the overall gritty grindhouse tone of the film may not appeal to everyone. However, if like me you’re a fan of the original Death Wish (1974) and prefer your thrillers ‘Old School’, Death Kiss is a film for you.
Death Kiss is available from Uncork’d Entertainment on Digital/ VOD now and a DVD, with special features such as director’s commentary and the trailer, will be released December 4th.
Review of the new action thriller Death Kiss
Movie title: Death Kiss
Movie description: DEATH KISS concerns a vigilante with a mysterious past who goes to a crime-infested city and takes the law into his own hands, at the same time protecting a young mother and her child.
Director(s): Rene Perez
Actor(s): Robert Bronzi, Daniel Baldwin, Richard Tyson, Eva Hamilton, Stormi Maya
Genre: Crime, Action, Thriller