#23 Kiss of Death

#23 Kiss of Death
Year: 1995
Director: Barbet Schroeder
MPAA Rating:
Epic Co-stars: David Caruso, Samuel L Jackson, Helen Hunt, John Costelloe, Stanley Tucci, Ving Rhames, Philip Baker Hall
Running Time: 101 mins
Cage Time: ~25%
Cage Kills: 1
Cage Flip-outs: 4
James's Review: After watching Kiss of Death can I say that I'm surprised that I'd never heard of this movie before despite it's start studded cast?  No, I cannot.  What I can say is that the start studded cast does almost nothing to improve it's cinematic quality and that the story is basically total garbage.  Now that I have the truth out of the way I can get to the good stuff:  despite this movie being basically unforgettable on most fronts, it should still be considered Classic Cage based on his ridiculous performance playing a completely ridiculous character.

Nic Cage plays "Little" Junior Brown, a ruthless gangster who (according to the movie tagline) "rules the streets" and "owns his game", but unfortunately for him "doesn't own all of the players".  Jimmy Kilmartin (David Caruso) plays an ex-con trying to get his life back together and clean up his act.  He got a cute wife (Helen Hunt) and things seem to be going well until his inner moron comes screaming back to the surface and he gets sucked into little Junior's ring of crime.  Fast forward: Kilmartin wants his life back, cops get involved, "juicy" story unfolds.  

This pretty much sums things up - Kicking ass.  Taking names.  Short hair.  White Jumpsuit.
As I've said in previous reviews, for a Cage fan none of this really matters.  What does matter is that Cage plays is a psychotic career criminal with a strip-club whos hideout is a stripclub (i.e. plenty of nudity: all boobs no bush and it also seems the director had some trouble making David Caruso keep his shirt on).  He stays in shape by bench-pressing strippers, wears a terrible white outfit at all times, and hates the taste of metal in his mouth.  None of this really makes sense either in the real world or in the context of this movie, but that is generally what we're looking for with these types of films.  

The all powerful master of his ultra bad-ass strip club lair.
Although with Kiss of Death viewers are not in for wholistic cinematic quality, those who stick with it through for the long haul are in for a few treats.  Cage breaks all of the rules by having what sounds like a Boston accent despite his character being from Queens NY.  His hair is like we've never seen it; tight on the sides with a surprisingly small amount of fluff or bounce up top.  He pushes the bounds of human behavior by  performing some sort of strange cry-rage exercise dance that is both fascinating and extremely pleasing to the viewer.  Also, there are a couple of deaths (including Helen Hunt) that are pretty awesome...

Bottom line:  Watch for a great Cage performance and a few good deaths / special treats (see below), but not much else.

Only Nicolas Cage, nobody else.

Movie quotability:
  • "Now!  Fucko!"
  • "I have an acronym for myself. Know what it is? B.A.D. B.A.D... Balls, Attitude, Direction. You should give yourself an acronym... 'cause it helps you visualize your goals."
  • "You know what I hate? I hate the taste of metal in my mouth.  Thanks why I never use silverware, forks and knives."

Plot Holes:
  • Jimmy Kilmartin is the only guy who can drive a truck.
  • Chopping a Rolls Royce is worth more than just selling it straight up.
  • "Good family people" leave toddler unattended in a kiddie pool.
  • David Caruso can handle himself on a prison basketball court filled with 6'4" 250lb black guys.
  • David Caruso appears partially nude in half of his scenes.
  • Good guys get to keep stolen cars.

Exceeds Expectations
!Stayed in the Cage!


Steve M said...

I wasn't exactly bored, but then I wasn't exactly sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. Yes, the plot was a little predictable, but I found it had a few unexpected moments so the real issue for me was the predictability of the characters. Overall not too B.A.D. of a showing by our ever talented Cage.

When you have a stolen car you either swap VIN numbers with a junker so you can register and drive it, or if it is unique and easily identified (eg. Rolls Royce) you suspend it from a gold plated chain then chop off its parts and sell them. I have no idea though how he's able to drive around in the Explorer even though they apparently had gotten some papers for them, I think they were supposed to be the titles? Any how, that also didn't make sense to me either so I'll forgive you for not understanding why a Rolls would be chopped up while a BMW would have its VIN number swapped.

I was rather disappointed by Samuel L. Jackson, but I guess you can't have too many foaming at the mouth crazy guys in one movie.

James Ayers said...

Thanks for forgiving me. I'm a straight shooter who loves Nic Cage. I spend too much time watching his films to know anything about chop shops or VIN plates. I'll leave that stuff to the REAL criminals like you!

KaBluie said...

#50 Kiss Of Death (1995) HBO On Demand. First Time View. This was Okay.

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