17 December 2006 | rsoonsa
Interesting Original Los Angeles Setting Ineffectively Replaced In A Wearying, and Warmed-Over Story.
This is essentially a note for note remake of producer Roger Corman's interesting 1991 Marcus De Leon directed film, KISS ME A KILLER, the work's setting unhappily transposed from its original East Los Angeles background to a semi-rural location in Texas, a switch that reveals in the main its inferiority when compared with the earlier piece. Shooting takes place in the environs of Vera Cruz, Mexico, intended to depict a small town north of the Border, and it has been reported that those engaged in the production had a very pleasant time during the making of it; unfortunately, the same will not be the case for most viewers, whose interest is apt to be flagging from the very start of the film. Pop "rockabilly" singer Billy Burnette plays here as Travis, a wandering singer and guitarist who arrives at the community, evidently made up largely of line dancers, where he enters a local redneck roadhouse, promptly offered by the bar owner employment as entertainer and impressing the citizenry to whom his performing skills prove to be irresistible. Darleen (Maria Ford), wife of roadhouse proprietor T.J. (Rick Dean), has taken a fancy to the stranger who in turn becomes enthralled with her very obvious physical charms, and the pair must soon decide what they should do with T.J. The curious and cynical local sheriff also desires to know what indeed may become of T.J., since he and others have noticed the fires of lust burning within and binding Travis and Darleen. An additional source of potential trouble for the illicit lovers appears when a former prison mate of mysterious Travis comes into the roadhouse, and it would seem that only the Fates will be able to rescue Travis from the dangerous situation that he has created for himself. The film's hackneyed treatment of its slender themes of sexual betrayal and desperation are smothered by tepid direction, generally lacklustre playing, and scoring that could have been most improved by being replaced with white noise. Corman's penchant for reuse of his own past production material is here plainly employed as a marketing device for singer Burnette's cinema debut, since all ten cuts from one of his recent albums are heard, including three music videos following the feature film. He has scant talent as a Thespian while Ford, who has at times expressed a wish to receive more challenging roles than have been hers, will have to display improved acting chops over those seen here, with hopefully less footage of an undernourished frame. This is a drab potage all round, but notice shall be made of Rick Dean's turn, cast as a cuckold and dominating each of his scenes, as is customary for this talented player.