Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 19th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1973
Director: Meng Hua Ho
Writer: Kang Chien Chiu
Cast: Ping Chen, Lieh Lo, Ching Chen, Shen Chan,Tao Chiang, Mei Sheng Fan, Ging Man Fung, Ricky Hui, Shiu Hung Hui
DVD released: August 12th, 2008
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Mandarin, Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
DVD Release: Image Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Synopsis: A young woman named Chu Ling is raped one evening on her way home from work. Shortly thereafter Chu Ling discovers that her attackers have given her a deadly venereal disease for which there is no cure. While working at a nightclub Chu Ling befriends the manager Wong Ta who teaches her Kung Fu. The only thing that keeps Chu Ling going as her health deteriorates is her quest for revenge against the five men who raped her.
Kiss of Death was directed by Meng Hua Ho who’s other notable films include The Cave of Silken Web, Black Magic, The Oily Maniac, Black Magic II, The Mighty Peking Man and The Rape After. The screenplay for Kiss of Death was written by Kang Chien Chiu (Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan).
The plot for Kiss of Death is a sleazy rape/revenge tale about a young woman who only reason for living after being violated is to kill the five men who raped and left her with a deadly venereal disease. The Martial Arts in Kiss of Death is almost secondary in this film with the rape and subsequent revenge front and center. Visually Meng Hua Ho keeps things moving with his stylish direction. The kills in the film while not bloody they still are very graphic as Chu Ling stabs her attackers with surgical scissors in their crotches.
The best part of this film is Ping Chen’s (The Sexy Killer) moving performance as Chu Ling the young woman who is raped at the beginning of the film. Besides convincingly pulling off the femme fatale side of her character she also proves herself more than capable during the martial arts sequences. The most surprising role in the film is Ching Chen as Chu Ling’s roommate Yang Fei Hung. She has a knack for making a deck of cards a deadly weapon. She has placed razor blades on the cards and she throws them at her attackers. Another notable role is Lieh Lo (King Boxer) as Wong Ta a crippled night club manager who ends up teaching Chu Ling the skills she needs to kill her rapists. The film even features a sub plot revolving budding love affair between Chu Ling and Wong Ta.
This film has non-stop action and the exploitation angle is pushed to the max. The most memorable moment in the film is Chu Ling’s martial arts training montage. For most of the film we only get to see glimpses of Lieh Lo’s fighting skills with the films finale being his shining moment. Ultimately Kiss of Death is a perfect mix of martial arts action and down and dirty exploitation.
Kiss of Death is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Kiss of Death just like Image’s previous Shaw Brothers is interlaced. Overall besides the interlacing issue the image looks clean, colorful and detailed throughout.
This release comes with two audio Mandarin and English. Both audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. You really can’t go wrong with either audio as they are free of any audio defects. The audio sounds evenly balanced and dialog is clear enough to follow. Removable English and Spanish subtitles have been included.
The only extra pertaining to the main feature Kiss of Death is its original Mandarin theatrical trailer. The remaining extra content consist of sixteen trailers for other Shaw Brothers films also available on DVD from Image Entertainment. Overall the audio/video presentation is on par with Image Entertainments other Shaw Brothers DVD releases.