Death Kiss may have flickered on my radar a year ago but I forgot all about it and didn’t really notice it until I was pretty much done with this series. Death Kiss is a homage to the Bronson films of the 70’s, particularity the Death Wish films, and features a gimmick like no other. A lookalike, standing in for Bronson.
The film opens with a very young looking Charles Bronson (younger now than he looked in most of the the Death Wish films, three and on) emerging out of the dark to patronize a pimp. He’s trafficking in underage girls and our Bronson lookalike takes him down with a quick pistol whipping. The blood flies quickly – and I note that it’s bloodier than what we used to see in the dearth wish films actually.
The Bronson lookalike is convincing until he opens his mouth and speaks to the dubbed dialogue. I almost wonder if they would’ve been better off just using the actual actor’s normal voice – even if it’s nothing like Bronson. After all we know that’s not actually Chuck walking on the screen. The look sometimes feels out of lace as well. While I’m sure his wardrobe was meant to be fashion neutral, it’s all comes off as kind of vintage in a movie where all the other characters, settings, filters and cinematography are extremely 2018.
It’s honestly exactly the sort of film somebody would make if they were trying to make something LIKE a Death Wish film. It’s way closer than that awful “A Daughters Revenge” film I talked about last week. It hits all the right elements – street gangs, big guns, it even attempt social commentary using Daniel Baldwin as a radio announcer (And I wonder how much of this was inspired by the media segments in the Death Wish remake) to deliver its anti-crime message. But it’s also ham fisted, and the filmmakers fail to capture the heart of the Bronson films.
It sounds like I’m down on this film, and I’m not necessarily… I’m down on what this film wanted to be. It’s a novelty piece rather than a fun low-budget action film. For a micro budget flick like this, the action and violence are really well done – it’s fun, there’s even some nostalgia seeing a young Bronson here, But it’s melancholy, because the lookalike, who’s trying his hardest, isn’t the talent Charles Bronson actually was. Bronson was a man with range and acting chops. This guy fires guns really well, but his overdubbed dialogue fails to move me.
This is a cool movie. Catch it where you can. Hopefully as a rental – I’m not convinced it’s worth the cost of the Blu-ray or iTunes download, but it is definitely worth seeing.