A rotten martial-arts revenge flick set in the urban jungles of New York City, Death Promise concerns a young man who vows payback after someone kills his father. As an indication of how dopey this movie is, the young man cobbles together a list of suspects and then kills each suspect one at a time. Yet during the film’s climax, he learns that none of the folks he murdered was directly responsible for his father’s death, meaning that he killed a bunch of bad people, but for the wrong reason. Anything in the name of justice, right? Whatever. Charles Bonet, a skilled athlete but a not-so-skilled actor, stars as Charley Roman, a martial-arts student who lives with his father, Louis (Bob O’Connell). Together with his fellow martial-arts student Speedy (Speedy Leacock), Charley and Louis repel goons sent by slumlords to force the Romans and their neighbors out of their decaying apartment building. Turns out the slumlords, including corrupt Judge Engstrom (David Kirk), want to raze the building and make way for a lucrative development project. When Charley comes home one day to find Louis dead, he decides the developers are responsible—and then leaves town for six months to study deadly techniques with a martial-arts guru. Huh? After completing his training, Charley reconnects with Speedy and begins his rampage. (Death Promise takes place in an alternate universe where there are no police and where people like Charley don’t need jobs in order to live.) Shot in a haphazard fashion with a meager budget, Death Promise looks and sounds cheap from beginning to end. Every so often, there’s a glimmer of imagination—like the bit in which Charley ties a victim to the back of an archery target, ensuring that the man is mistakenly killed by his own underling. However, most of the movie comprises silly martial-arts fights during which participants scream so much they sound ridiculous. Again, whatever. Oh, and it sure looks as if comic-book legend Neal Adams drew the poster art. Not his best work.
Death Promise: LAME