Image Entertainment // 1973 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 5th, 2008
Not the one with David Caruso.
Another obscure Shaw Brothers production sees the light of day, and this one is whacked-out.
For a young woman named Ling (Chen Ping), her simple life as a factory girl is a day-by-day excursion into the uneventful. Until one night a gang of street thugs drags her to the top of a building and rapes her. To add to her misery and emotional trauma, Ling is informed she's contracted a deadly virus and has only a limited amount of time to live.
Her despair turns to rage and she enlists the help of a crippled kung fu expert, who agrees to train her in the deadly art of penis-stabbing. That's right, when Ling corners her quarry she resorts to the dependably go-to combat technique of forcefully planting a sharp implement into genitals. And yes, to answer your question, that includes a pickaxe.
If this is indicative of what films are to be further vomited forth from the Shaw Brothers vault, then God help us. Kiss of Death is a violent, weird, gratuitous exploitation vengeance flick from the '70s that would have fit perfectly into a double-feature of your local rundown grindhouse.
You want to talk exploitation, feast your eyes on the rape scene. Or, actually, don't because it's disturbing and never ends. But at least you want these guys to get theirs, which makes the over-the-top methods Ling uses to even the score more palatable -- and they are premium douchebags, who say things like "I have raped so many women, I can't remember them all!"
Which brings me to the groin-stabbing. Oh the groin-stabbing! Kiss of Death almost certainly sets the record for most penile mutilations in a 98-minute block of time. Each attack is accompanied by a groovy exploitation synth sound effect and the contorted, screaming faces of the victims and you, the male viewer, covering your eyes like a 5-year-old watching Faces of Death. Peripheral to these ultra-feminist fantasies are Ling's secondary methods of attack: the Flying Playing Cards of Skin Lacerations and well, the typical punching and kicking in the face.
While the female vengeance distribution drives the action, there are more than a handful of weirdo sequences. Before the fighting and stabbing and castrating kicks in, you'll be treated to a solid chunk of runtime devoted to Ling familiarizing herself with her STD. That involves a painfully long and detailed conversation with some cocktail waitresses about the symptoms ("The area will discharge some bloody pus" and "Your underwear will still stink") and an unending vaginal examination. Then there's the requisite training montage with the master savagely beating on Ling and not appearing to really teach her anything, though he does come to her rescue just in time at the end and unleash his cane-fu.
A great-looking 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen rehabbed transfer joins two mono audio tracks (Chinese and English) and some trailers.
Highly recommended for fans of woman-wronged-and-goes-on-a-genitalia-impaling-spree exploitation.
Not guilty. Chop till you drop!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Chinese)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1973
MPAA Rating: Not Rated