5.9/10
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60 user 41 critic

Kiss of Death (1995)

A reformed convict goes undercover with the help of an angry detective to ensnare a psychotic mobster.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Calvin Hart
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Rosie Kilmartin
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Ronnie Gannon
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Omar
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Big Junior Brown
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Jack Gold
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J.J.
...
Cleary
Lindsay J. Wrinn ...
Corinna as a Toddler
Megan L. Wrinn ...
Corinna as a Toddler
...
Corinna, 4 Years Old
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Storyline

Jimmy Kilmartin's an ex-con who's trying to go straight. But he can't say no to a quick driving job because his so called friend's life is threatened. The job is for Little Junior Brown, a violent and powerful villain. When things go wrong, Jimmy is left to do the time, and his whole life is turned upside-down, but if that wasn't enough, the cops won't leave Jimmy alone when he gets out... They want 'Little Junior' Written by Rob Hartill, corrected by Lex Gustafsson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Little Junior Brown. He rules the streets. He owns the game. But he doesn't own all of the players.

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, nudity and strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A halál csókja  »

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$14,942,422 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Empire State Building, seen in the film, is lit up in red, white, and blue, this was for the New York Rangers, because at the time of filming, they were in the Stanley cup finals. See more »

Goofs

When we first see the Red Explorer - before Nicolas gives it to David - is has no license plate in the front. But when David drives it home it DOES have a license plate in the front See more »

Quotes

Calvin Hart: You see this eye here? Runs all the time. I can't make it stop. I got a third of my hearing in this ear. And when I go to the beach... when I take my kids to the beach and shit, strong direct sunrays give me a headache so bad I cry like a baby. They don't know why. It just does.
See more »


Soundtracks

Porque No Unirnos
Written by Thomas Kukulies and Roberto Herrador
Performed by Salsa Picante
Courtesy of LaserLight Digital by arrangement with Source/Q
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User Reviews

 
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
29 May 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Kiss of Death is directed by Barbet Schroeder and collectively written by Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, Eleazar Lipsky and Richard Price. It stars David Caruso, Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Helen Hunt, Ving Rhames, Stanley Tucci, Kathryn Erbe, Michael Rapaport and Anthony Heald. Music is by Trevor Jones and cinematography by Luciano Tovoli.

Reformed ex-con Jimmy Kilmartin (Caruso) reluctantly helps out his cousin transporting stolen cars but gets caught and ends up taking the fall for the whole caper. Back in prison and missing his wife and child, Jimmy gets offered a lifeline if he is prepared to go undercover with the police to bring down psychotic crime boss Little Junior Brown (Cage).

A loose remake of the excellent 1947 film noir of the same name, Schroeder's Kiss of Death is slightly better than the iffy reputation afforded it. Yes it's more solid than anything resembling truly compelling, but it wears its noir heart on its sleeve and is very well performed by an impressive cast.

Caruso's Kilmartin is a classic noir protagonist, a man who tries to go straight but gets dragged into a world of crime and shifty undercover machinations after doing one honest intention favour. From the point he agrees to help out Ronnie Gannon (Rapaport a jumping bean performance), he loses what he holds most dear and continually gets pulled from pillar to post by everyone around him. He's basically a good guy that fate has dealt a deadly hand, even when he gets a second chance at happiness it's not long before the door knocks and he's thrust into a deadly undercover game where he will be lucky to escape with his life intact.

A lot has been made of TV star Caruso's unsuccessful attempt at breaking into films, with some believing that his performance here is mostly to blame. Yet in the context of a noir protagonist his performance is perfectly good, in fact it's a very subtle turn that isn't short on brooding intensity. That he is overshadowed by the likes of Cage (wonderfully on full tilt overdrive as a nut-case) and Jackson (calm yet assured presence) is no bad thing, especially since both come with noir infected ticks (Jackson has a continuous weeping eye/Cage has a phobia about metal in his mouth). Caruso does good here, bringing the character to life without histrionics, he helps the audience understand his frustration as he spins in his vortex of disharmony.

Nobody is done any favours by a screenplay that doesn't take chances, and at times it comes close to standing still in the mid-section, while the climax is a little underwhelming. But for a piece of pulpy neo-noir it has enough about it to make it worth a look. 6.5/10


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