Reprehensible, but not in a good way
A man walks this earth in the year of our Lord 2018 with the stage name of Robert Bronzi. He is the spitting image of Charles Bronson. It’s… uncanny. What’s most fascinating about this is how distinctive Bronson truly looked. This was not a visage, nor a physique, that one would ever expect the good Lord to replicate. The man was nothing if not singular. But Robert Bronzi exists. And because he exists, there must be a vigilante revenge movie starring him. It’s science.
It’s unfortunate, then, that the revenge film made for the sole purpose of crafting a movie around a Charles Bronson look alike does so little to honor the great screen legacy of Mr. Bronson.
I watch a lot of garbage cinema and I’m proud of that. There’s a whole spectrum of qualities found under the generous “garbage” umbrella. Sadly, Death Kiss is truly bottom of the barrel stuff with virtually no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Reprehensible in its content as well as poorly put together as a film, the only joy to be found is in watching Robert Bronzi walk around city streets and occasionally blowing some folks away with a six shooter while… just… looking exactly like Charles Bronson. I guess the biggest problem there being that we STILL HAVE real Charles Bronson movies wherein he strolls around city streets casually murdering criminals. I’d recommend revisiting really any Charles Bronson film before scratching your Death Kiss itch.
For those of you who have a similar disease to mine and you simply cannot possibly resist watching this film no matter what anyone tells you, let me count the ways in which this movie is among the very worst I’ve seen this year.
What doesn’t make Death Kiss the worst is the fact that it’s cheap, or poorly acted, etc. One expects these kinds of things. The fact that Bronzi does not (I believe) speak English, had to be dubbed, and wasn’t even DUBBED to sound anything like Charles Bronson… that’s not really even that big of an issue. The man is not, after all, Charles Bronson. (Although, come on, just get a decent impersonator to dub the sparse dialog and that really would’ve gone a long way towards making Bronzi feel like the total package). The exploitative elements surrounding the stunt casting of a Bronson look alike are actually among the most charming elements of a largely joyless film.
And sure, the movie IS poorly acted, poorly written, poorly directed, poorly dubbed, and poorly color timed. But all told, those still aren’t the biggest crimes of Death Kiss. The biggest crimes are unforgivable: It is both boring and preachy.
Writer/director/composer/cinematographer/editor/craft services technician Rene Perez has apparently directed upwards of 20 films at this point in his career. And more power to him. I do give props to anyone out there hustling. He gives a commentary track on this DVD release and anyone who’s able to wear all those hats is truly a multi-talented individual the likes of which I will never be. With Death Kiss it just seems like Perez was too busy proving he “could” to consider whether or not he “should”. Ultimately Death Kiss is just boring. It’s extremely padded with shots of characters walking, or running after one another. There are dialog sequences that take minutes of screen time and could have been accomplished in seconds. Bronzi’s nameless character is sending a bunch of money to a super hot mom and her paralyzed daughter. They encounter each other multiple times throughout the film and more or less have the same conversation each time: “Why do you send us all this money?” It’s a question that really seems to matter to the hot mom, but not so much to the audience. Then there are the action sequences, such as they are. Bronzi chases a bunch of dudes around a few times and we get lots of ducking and shooting and running and hiding behind things. It’s inert. And it’s long. At least a couple of moments spring to life — like when Bronzi just picks up a car door in a junkyard and uses it as a shield from an uzi, or when he pours BBQ sauce on a dude out in the woods because apparently animals will smell him better to come and devour him. But even in telling you about those moments of life, I’m worried you’ll decide you need to see this movie. And you don’t.
The other extreme bummer about Death Kiss is that it features Daniel Baldwin playing a shock jock DJ that voices all kinds of poor taste beliefs and we’re stuck listening to his rants for large chunks of time. He waxes on about sex trafficking, vigilantism, and why it’s okay to judge people for how they look because if they look like thugs they are probably going to shoot your baby in its face. Now, there IS the whole “depiction is not endorsement” concept that I attempted to cling to while watching the film. But alas, Perez overtly states in his commentary track that he enjoyed writing Daniel Baldwin’s character because he was able to come right out and say what he himself believes. Oof.
I highly encourage the curious to avoid Death Kiss. Watch a real Bronson movie. Watch some Bronzi trailers or look at pictures of the guy to get your curiosity itch scratched. There’s no need to spend over 80 minutes watching a grand total of maybe 40 minutes worth of story told poorly and offensively.
As mentioned, the DVD has a commentary track from the many-hat-wearing Perez. But this is a very ugly film in content and in aesthetic, so I really can’t recommend people go out and buy this disc. It appears that an HD version of the film is rentable on some video on demand services, so you’ve got choices if you won’t heed my warnings and you have to check this film out for yourself.
And I’m Out.
Death Kiss is now available on DVD and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment