29 March 2016 | Coventry
Hey look, it's Charlene Bronson!
Personally, I like it a lot when filmmakers (or their marketers
) include witty and tongue-in-cheek references towards other films in their own tag line, script or dialogs. There's one small but logical condition, though, and that is that the witty reference has to make sense and hints at a suitable title! The mastermind marketers behind this "Sudden Death" clearly weren't so smart
The tag line juicily states "don't mess with this Dirty Harriet!" which obviously refers to Clint Eastwood's character and milestone thriller classic "Dirty Harry", but he was a cop! Admittedly an unorthodox and trigger-happy cop, but a cop that is still on the right side of the law. Lead actress Denise Coward – what a terrible choice of artist name, by the way – depicts a traumatized victim of an unsolved crime who turns into a violent vigilante, so instead they could easily have referred to "Death Wish" by nicknaming the character Paula Kersey or – ha! - Charlene Bronson.
apart from this pretty pointless intro rant, I actually haven't got much to say about this "Sudden Death". It's a very derivative, unmemorable and insipid vigilante thriller, like there were far too many of them during the first half of the eighties. It's not even remarkable that the avenging angel is a woman, since there is also Abel Ferrara's phenomenal "Ms. 45". Former miss Australia Denise Coward stars as a hard-working career woman who takes a taxi late one night in order to join her fiancé at a restaurant. Little does she know that the cab was just carjacked by a duo of sneering thugs that promptly rape the poor girl and leave her behind beaten half dead. During a slow recovery at the hospital, her fiancé encourages her to "forget" what happened while the tender macho copper Lowery informs her that the case most likely won't be solved. So what's a poor & frustrated girl to? She buys a Walther- 32, prepares a whole set of dumdum bullets and goes out to roam the streets in search of pervert, rapist pigs. She doesn't have to search very hard or long, although admittedly she poses a bit too flamboyantly as a prostitute to lure her victims. In spite of the vile subject matter, "Sudden Death" is intolerably tedious and slow- paced. The film literally drags itself from one violent execution sequence to the next with only dullness and irritating synthesizer music in between.