Death Kiss (2018)

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Is Charles Bronson back from the dead? It sure looks that way in this rousing homage to the classic Death Wish franchise from one-man army filmmaker Rene Perez.

On the streets of Los Angeles, a mysterious stranger, decked out in a suit and trenchcoat, has begun to do what the police have not been able to do: clean the streets. At first rescuing a young girl who was forced into prostitution, he sends money to the countryside, where a young woman lives with her paralyzed daughter. After dispatching two drug dealers who were set to pick another dealer up at the airport, the stranger arrives at the airport and uses some unarmed combat skills to dispatch the dealer, who had the drugs inside him.

The actions of the stranger has somewhat caused the attraction of Dan Forthright, a local radio DJ who is unhappy with the police actions as of late. He feels they would rather take petty crime than stop the more dangerous people in town. When Tyrell, a crime boss whose son is imprisoned for life, forces a hired gun to kill a witness with the failure of said killing resulting in the son’s imprisonment, Tyrell forces the hired gun to do the unthinkable. The stranger arrives and makes it clear he will not stop until he gets to Tyrell and his gang.

Fifteen years after his death, could it be that the legendary Charles Bronson has returned from the dead? Well, not exactly, but this could be said to be a definite film of “Bronsploitation”. Indie filmmaker Rene Perez, usually known for his work in horror films such as the Playing with Dolls film series, has found the new Bronson in Hungarian-born actor and stuntman Robert Kovacs, whose uncanny resemblance to the Hollywood legend has earned him the nickname “Bronzi”.

Kovacs was discovered by Perez and starred in a hybrid Western-horror film in 2017 entitled From Hell to the Wild West. However, if there is one film that’s going to market Kovacs in true form as “Bronzi”, then it is this film, which pays homage to Bronson’s beloved Death Wish franchise. The franchise, which ran from 1974 to 1994, featured Bronson as family man turned vigilante Paul Kersey. For this film, Kovacs’ character has no name and doesn’t feel the viewer needs to know it. All we have to know is that one, he is Bronson’s doppelganger, and two, he’s there to do one thing and that’s clean the streets the same way the legend had done it for the course of two decades.

However, there is another side to the stranger and it is not all about action. He is a very sympathetic character when it comes to helping Ana, a single mother played by Eva Hamilton, and her paralyzed daughter. He sends them money to help them get by but for unknown reasons. That is, until you hear Ana’s story and it could be clear why the stranger has been doing what he does.

Daniel Baldwin makes the most of his role as a radio DJ who spends his time ripping the police on worrying more about petty tasks and not focusing enough on the more dangerous crimes, which leads our hero into action. The stranger’s action against a drug mule in an airport gets a bit of acclaim from the DJ. Richard Tyson, a veteran villain actor, gets to once again play the villain. In this case, he’s a notorious redneck gang leader whose son’s imprisonment leads him to go after the “killer” hired to kill a key witness only to fail and thus leads to some unspeakable actions that in turn, lead to the stranger going after Tyrell and his gang. With Tyrell the only one to slip by the stranger, it is clear who the stranger will have to stop in the final action reel. And speaking of action, Perez’s trademark of over the top blood is done to effect here with gunshots results in a bit more OTT bloodletting, but that’s forgivable here thanks in part of the fact we are dealing with a homage.

Death Kiss is a true homage to the Charles Bronson franchise in many ways, from Robert Kovacs’ uncanny resemblance to the action legend to the style of filmmaking from Rene Perez. If you liked the Death Wish franchise, then you will enjoy this one.

WFG RATING: A-

Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Millman Productions film in association with Mosquito Entertainment. Director: Rene Perez. Producer: Jeff Miller. Writer: Rene Perez. Cinematography: Rene Perez. Editing: Rene Perez.

Cast: Robert Kovacs, Daniel Baldwin, Richard Tyson, Eva Hamilton, Stormi Maya, Reese Austyn, Leia Perez, Timothy Sheard, Sam Story, Sean Story, Anton Clark.

Uncork’d Entertainment releases Death Kiss on Digital/VOD platforms on October 2.

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