May 8, 1995 -- I usually don't watch gangster films, but I decided to go see "Kiss of Death" because I had liked David Caruso so much in ``NYPD Blue.''
In this film Caruso plays a crook, Jimmy Kilmartin, who's trying to go straight, but gets pulled back into the system to do ``one last job'' that goes bad. Sound familiar?
After he gets double-crossed by the crook he went to prison for, he decides to do a double cross of his own, then he has to do another double cross to get out of a jam with the law. The problems I have with gangster films include this constant double-crossing, the lack of morality and the violence. This film has all of those elements.
Nicolas Cage is scary as the crazy Little Junior Brown, who runs a chop shop and Samuel L. Jackson plays a cop who wants to get even with Jimmy and Stanley Tucci plays an unscrupulous prosecutor, who is one of many double-crossers in the film.
I thought Caruso's performance was adequate, but not outstanding. There are many capable actors in the film and they all do a good job with the material. The real problem with this film is a so-so screenplay. The dialogue is lame and many scenes lack any real suspense. It has average entertainment value, but it could have been a lot better. It rates a C.
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