An unnamed city has been turned into a war zone by gangsters like Tyrell (Richard Tyson). Men, women, and children are killed in the streets. Muggers haunt every corner. Pimps exploit women in dirty trailers. A right-wing radio host named Dan Forthright (Daniel Baldwin) rants that if the police aren’t going to do their job then it’s up to the citizens to take up arms and take the streets back.
Making that dream a reality is a man known only as the Stranger (Robert Bronzi). The Stranger walks the streets, wearing a dark suit and carrying a gun. He has a mustache and a grim expression and he doesn’t say much. He approaches criminals and he guns them down without hesitation. If the criminals beg for their lives, the Stranger just shoots them again. There’s no one that the Stranger hates more than a criminal who preys on the weak and defenseless. (The Strangers reminds me someone. As the film’s tagline puts it, “Justice has a familiar face!”) For years, the Stranger has been sending money to a single mother named Ana (Eva Hamilton). He goes to her house and they meet when she catches him slipping an envelope full of cash into her mailbox. The Stranger won’t explain why he’s sending her money but he will take the time to teach her how to use a shotgun. “For coyotes,” The Stranger says, handing her the weapon.
Death Kiss is one of the many recent, low-budget action films to have starred Robert Bronzi. Bronzi is a Hungarian actor who owes his entire career to the fact that he bears a passable resemblance to Charles Bronson. (Bronzi doesn’t speak much in his films but, when he does, his voice is usually dubbed by a Bronson sound alike.) The problem is that Bronzi only looks like Bronson in long shots. In a medium shot or a close-up, it becomes obvious that he’s just a middle-aged man who does not seem to be comfortable reciting dialogue and who often looks straight at the camera.
Death Kiss doesn’t have much of a plot. The Stranger visits Ana, who is not at all worried about a mysterious, gun-toting man showing up at the home that she shares with her young daughter. The Stranger also tracks down Tyrell. Along the way, he shoots nearly everyone that he meets. There are a few one liners but none of them are as good as the “Do you believe in Jesus?” scene from Death Wish II. Because The Stranger is not allowed to just come out and say that he’s Paul Kersey from the Death Wish films, he’s not allowed to reveal any motivation for his activities. He just shows up and starts shooting people. Say what you will about some of the movies that he made during the latter part of his career, the real Bronson would have held out for a better script or at least a bigger budget. I hope they at least gave Robert Bronzi a nice trailer so that he could put his feet up between scenes.