Death Kiss (Movie Review)

Death Kiss (Movie Review)
7 10

PLOT: 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.

REVIEW: As good or bad as the finished film is, let's be honest here, the first thing that anyone and everyone needs to know about writer-director Rene Perez's retro-revenge action flick DEATH KISS is that the movie stars a man named Robert Kovacs. Kovacs is a guy who has "gained attention for his uncanny resemblance to a certain well-known action star." The well-known action star in question is, obviously, Charles Bronson, and if you're like me and the idea of seeing an all-new (semi) Bronson revenge flick has you all ready to roll, then DEATH KISS is just what the doctor ordered. But really, is the gimmick of having an actor who looks f*cking identical to Charles Bronson enough of a reason to make a feature film? I guess we'll find out.

The movie kicks right off into a dark and gritty gear with a city at night under a throbbing synth score. We follow our Charles Bronson-style hero to a crack house in the middle of some unnamed city. Once there we realize this house is the home of a sinister underground child sex-trafficking operation. It's pretty dark. Semi-Bronson busts in and saves the 11-year-old prostitute by blowing her client and pimp away in over-the-top bloody fashion. And speaking of the film's violence, not only is it non-stop, it's brutal and bloody, just like we'd hope. This includes massive amounts of blood spraying out of endless squib hits, a drug mule punched in the stomach to cause an OD (never seen THAT before!) and more. 

Filmed in Northern California, the movie boasts an old-school Grindhouse style with faded colors and the as mentioned above synth score. This score worked super-well in the flick's favor as not only does it try with all it's might to evoke 80's action films, every frame seeps this aesthetic. As far as the acting goes, Kovacs isn't bad at all. Truthfully, I was expecting the most wooden actor this side of your local community playhouse. But Kovacs isn't just a Bronson impersonator; the man has a slow burn simmer to his performance that works like a throwback charm. On top of Kovacs, the rest of the cast is a bit hit-and-miss. Eva Hamilton is serviceable and sexy as the single mother who Bronson-lite protects with an iron fist. And Richard Tyson is reasonably sinister as the movie's lead bad guy.

Daniel Baldwin (JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES) plays a radio DJ whose equally as fed up with the child sex-trafficking as our vigilante hero. Baldwin plays his part with appropriate energy and charm so I can't complain about this casting either. That said, I'd venture to say that a bit too much time is spent with Baldwin's character in his studio monologuing about injustice. A little less time spent with Baldwin may have had more impact. As is, his sequences can't seem but feel like filler added after the fact once the filmmakers realized they didn't have enough footage for a feature. And speaking of the movie's running time, at a super-quick 87 minutes the film keeps the hits coming. There's nothing worse in this world of movie reviews than a flick that feels like 2 hours and merely runs 85 minutes. It's the bane of our existence. DEATH KISS had no such issue. The movie roars in with its tale of bloody revenge and keeps the body count up-and-running till credits roll.

In the end, Rene Perez's retro-revenge action flick DEATH KISS is what you'd expect it to be from seeing the trailer: a synth-soaked, bloody bash that evokes all the best parts of cheesy 80's action movies. The film does sport a plot involving Kovacs protecting a young mother and her child, but for the most part, the film would rather spend its time following our vigilante hero from one shoot 'em up sequence to another. I'm not complaining. This film knows what it wants to be - a violent as all hell throwback - and it gets right to business on that front. The movie rarely slows down for any boring back-and-forths (which we've seen a million times anyhow) and plays more like a feature-length episode of the JoBlo original video series THE KILL COUNTER than a movie. Again, this isn't such a bad thing. As they say, if you want blood, you got it.

The film hits digital/VOD via Uncork'd Entertainment October 2nd. The DVD will be released December 4th.

Source: AITH



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