Death Promise (aKa Landlords) is a 1977 exploitation film directed by Robert Warmflash (Post-production supervisor for New Rose Hotel, 30 for 30, and The Condemned). It was written & assistant directed by Norbert Albertson Jr. (The Black Dragon Revenges the Death of Bruce Lee). It was produced by Serafim Karalexis (The Black Dragon Revenges the Death of Bruce Lee, The Real Bruce Lee, The Super Weapon , and Xia nan yang). It got a theatrical run from Howard Mahler Films. It had great success on home video from Paragon back in the day on VHS.
The residents of a dilapidated New York tenement building are being harassed and threatened by Iguana Realty, the dummy corporation which owns the land, in an effort to force them out of their homes. The group of slumlords includes Alden (played by: Vincent Van Lynn from Fuzz, Marooned, and The Big Mouth), Mursky (played by: Thom Kendell), Jr. Jackson (played by: Abe Hendy), Judge Engstrom (played by: David Kirk from Putney Swope, Porky’s II: The Next Day, and Cry Uncle), and Albano (played by: Tony De Caprio from Wanda Whips Wall Street). When karate master Charley’s (played by: Charles Bonet from Don’t Go in the House, Way of the Black Dragon, Fists of Bruce Lee, and Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story) father Louis Roman (played by: Bob O’Connell from The Sting II, Short Eyes, Love Story, and Dark Shadows) is murdered by a group of thugs hired by the landlords, he decides to take matters into his own hands after going to Master Shibata (played by: Thompson Kao Kang from Hard Boiled Killers, Kung Fu Cops, and Xia nan yang). Enlisting the help of his best friend/fellow fighter Speedy (played by: Speedy Leacock) and driven by a desire for vengeance. They soon develop a plan to murder each board member of Iguana Realty. However, what they don’t realize is that their final target is someone much closer to home!!!!
Ever wondered what a Enter the Dragon and Death Wish hybrid on a very low budget would be like? Late 70’s exploitation action revenge flick Death Promise is the closest thing to that when it comes to cinema. Don’t expect high caliber writing or Oscar worthy acting from this cheaper grindhouse production but it does make up for all of that when it comes to entertainment. So bad that it’s actually ends up being way better than you would think for something like this. Most of the cast in Death Promise made their acting debut here and never did anything else after this film. Bob O’Connell and Vincent Van Lynn were actually really good here. The rest of the cast hammed it up and went over the top which works for this type of feature. Charles Bonet could actually fight and that was the main thing his character really needed anyways when it came to his retaliation. Death Promise is one that you don’t take that serious and just have fun with it. I will say that the twist at the end was decent. It had some quality action, fights, and some brutal violence thrown in for good measure. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this one but it ended up being the one of best ones from Vinegar Syndrome’s March home video releases, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Vinegar Syndrome! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is from a brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative. This new blu ray blows away the older 2014 DVD from Code Red which was a huge improvement over the older VHS and DVD bootlegs before that one when it comes to everything. It’s the best it’s ever looked or sounded on home video. It has a few audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the disc. This is a major upgrade compared to all the past releases of this movie. The music has a killer boost to it. All of the dialogue is very clean and the action here is elevated. It also has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Vinegar Syndrome! “9,000 feet in 90 minutes” is a little over 16 minute interview with editor Jim Markovic. He chats about his start in television with commercials. He talks about starting his own company Rainbow Productions. He goes over his experience working with the director on this. He brings up the tough process of editing the martial arts shots in this and working in New York on a limited time schedule. It has the original “Trailer” under the title Landlords. It has an almost 2 minute “Still Gallery” with newspaper ads and photos from the production. Only 4,000 copies were pressed for this limited edition release. It comes with a high quality slipcover from VinegarSyndrome.com, it’s available right now. CHECK IT OUT!!!!
Buy it right now @ https://vinegarsyndrome.com/products/death-promise