Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Death Promise (1977)

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


pete doree said...

Hi Peter. I'm not sure about that poster: Neal Adams' ad company Continuity did a lot of stuff like this, and Neal regularly gave work to newcomers as a way of learning the biz, so I'd think he probably got one of his minions at the time to do it, then spruced it up as best he could.
Geeky minutae at it's best, but no doubt more interesting than this movie!

erdmann said...

Good morning. I've been looking over that poster and can't decide if it's Adams or not. I'm actually leaning toward it being the work on another legendary comics artist, Jim Starlin. He was the original artist on Marvel's "Master of Kung Fu" back in the '70s and is the creator of Thanos, the big bad behind the events of "The Avengers" and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

By the way, I love this site.

Cindylover1969 said...

You know, I think some of the names MIGHT be made up.

Unknown said...

Cindylover, as a names freak myself I'm not so sure. "Monica Germaine" may be made up, but that sort of thing has been true at least since Miss Gustafson called herself Garbo. Serafim Karalexis is a producer who brought "I Am Curious (Yellow)" to America and went on to help Billy Joel tour the Soviet Union. Perhaps you're talking about Robert Warmflash? Perhaps, but he kept that name and went on to become a post-production manager for movies ranging from "Like Water For Chocolate" to the documentary "Capturing the Friedmans." Google readily tracks down two dentists and a rabbi named Warmflash. Perhaps it's Dr. Molly Warmflash from the James Bond movie "The World is Not Enough" that's throwing us off. I recently read an article about geophysicist Chris Goldfinger warning of Oregon possibly getting hit by an earthquake even bigger than California's dreaded Big One. I found it a little disorienting and imagined Gert Frobe rather than Christopher Walken starring in "A View to a Kill."