Guess I’m on you’re-not-crazy-this-is-a-real-movie detail this week. DEATH KISS is a vigilante thriller about a man of a certain age with a mustache who cleans up crime in an urban setting using extreme acts of violence. If this reminds you of a different movie, well hell, that’s just a funny coincidence.
Robert “Bronzi” Kovacs is a Hungarian performer with a resemblance to late-career Charles Bronson that is noticeable enough that somebody got the swell idea of making a Bronson-esque revenge picture with him in the lead. Personally I think that’s kind of hilarious, although of course I will hereby proceed to overthink it.
From a distance he’s a dead ringer, no doubt, although the closer you get to Bronzi, the more the likeness fades. Can he keep up the act for an entire feature? Charles Bronson isn’t regarded as the most emotive actor of all time, so it’s possible they can swing it. Then again, Bronson was also a trained actor who came into film in the last years of the studio system and who worked with some of the finest directors and movie stars in American cinema history, so from another point of view it might almost be insulting to expect another performer to step into his well-earned screen persona.
This substitute action-hero notion isn’t without precedent. Old Hollywood tried to make stars out of John Wayne’s son and Robert Mitchum’s son, for example, and we’re still seeing it happen today with Scott Eastwood and Jaden Smith and all the Skarsgårds and Wyatt Russell (I like to think Wyatt might be one to go the distance.) Every once in a while you get a Jane Fonda or a Jeff Bridges or a Josh Brolin or a Kiefer Sutherland, but historically speaking, it’s pretty damn hard for actors with familiar names and/or faces to escape the shadow of movie stars. Bronzi isn’t related to Charles Bronson — as far as we know, anyway; the internet is being purposefully mysterious with his biography — but it’s apparent he’s leaning the fuck in.
Is there any way this movie could be as memorable as something like THE MECHANIC or THE STONE KILLER? Or is it more of a KINJITE, only re-enacted with some celebrity impersonator some producer scooped up off Hollywood Boulevard? With any luck, it’s a DEATH WISH 3. I could really use a DEATH WISH 3 right about now. I don’t seriously expect the goal here is to launch Bronzi into a couple decades of vigilante pictures of the sort J. Lee Thompson and Michael Winner made with Bronson throughout the 1970s and 1980s — although anything could happen! It’s a lot more likely this is a lark, a one-and-done, a novelty act. It’s sort of insane, which makes me love the idea, and I’m really not sure how the politics of a Bronson revenger would possibly play in 2018. Still, I’m fascinated with this thing and I can’t wait to see it for myself. Here’s the trailer…
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