There is certainly no shortage of Death Wish copycats out there. Since the release of Michael Winner’s controversial vigilante classic in 1974, exploitation filmmakers have made countless movies about everyday citizens taking the law into their own hands. All you need is one man (or woman), a gun, some criminals to blast through, and you have a recipe for success. This formula has served genre cinema well for decades.
Death Wish has been all the outrage again this year. The poorly-timed Eli Roth remake arrived on the back of some of the worst mass shootings in American history and saw Bruce Willis sleep his way to another paycheck. Not everyone was receptive to that movie for various reasons. But if you watched the film and yearned for the days of Charles Bronson and his trusty revolver, boy do we have the movie for you.
Death Kiss isn’t just the latest movie to evoke the spirit of Winner’s trendsetter (or blatantly rip it off, to be more specific). This one has gone a step further and cast Bronson’s clone as its angel of retribution. The film’s harbinger of justice is actually a real actor who goes by the name Robert Kovacs, but if someone told me that he was the real Bronson back from the grave I’d believe them. See for yourself:
The film, which was written and directed by Rene Perez, follows a vigilante who rampages through criminals in a crime-infested city while protecting a young mother and her child. The tone of the trailer is more reminiscent of the original Death Wish than the cartoonish sequels (which are way more entertaining), so expect some drama here. I love how straight-faced the movie appears to be, even though it’s absolutely shameless in its exploitation.
But this could also be the start of something bigger. I’m talking about a new trend of film known as Bronsonploitation. If there are exact Bronson replicas out there, then why not use them to make the types of movies the hardboiled legend helped popularize? Sure, a movie selling itself based on this mindset is ethically problematic and misleading. It’s also a dumb idea that won’t sit well with a lot of people. But is it all that different than using holograms and old footage of dead actors to pass as the real thing? These are matters to consider.
If Bronsonploitation is going to happen, it wouldn’t be the first time that a dead actor was shamelessly exploited by low-budget hucksters. After Bruce Lee’s unfortunate passing in 1973, a slew of movies made in the East cast the actor’s doppelgängers in the types of movies he’d star in to exploit his massive popularity. At least those movies had the sense to initially strike while the iron was hot, though. Bronson left us in 2003, so maybe his own exploitation subgenre has arrived a little late?
Only time will tell. The future of Bronsonploitation lingers on Death Kiss being a success. Who knows: maybe it will be? Morbid curiosity has already convinced me to watch this nonsense. This movie will laugh at us all the way to the bank.
Related Topics: Trailers