DEATH KISS **** USA 2018 Dir: Rene Perez. 87 mins
A graduate of the PLAYING WITH DOLLS franchise, writer / cinematographer / composer / director Rene Perez has crafted an affectionate, highly enjoyable homage to 1970’s vigilante cinema – and specifically, the post-DEATH WISH career of Charles Bronson.
He brilliantly casts Hungarian actor Robert Bronzi as a character known only as “K” and bearing an uncanny resemblance to Bronson; the dubbing of his voice also adds to the retro exploitation vibe. Structured around Daniel Baldwin’s talk radio condemnation of the justice system, the story sees Bronzi’s unsmiling, monosyllabic, six-shooter-wielding “Stranger” taking down gangbangers and drug smugglers while going to great lengths to protect a sympathetic single mother (Eva Hamilton) and her paraplegic daughter, seemingly as a means to even out the “questionable” things he does. Mostly speaking with one or two words at a time (typically “run…” and “No law…justice…”) and sporting Bronson-esque coat, moustache and haircut, Bronzi is a lot of fun to watch, as is one-time erotic thriller staple Richard Tyson as a sadistic villain – while Hamilton has real screen presence as the reformed addict. Perez stages brisk lo-fi action sequences, keeps the obligatory rape scene refreshingly discreet and captures the look, feel and pace of a superior Michael Winner movie. Bonus points to the finale for showcasing terrorisation-by-barbeque-sauce.
Review by Steven West