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Gary Fleder
Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes
Writing Credits:
David Klass

Police hunting for a serial kidnapper are helped when a victim manages to escape for the first time.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$13,215,167 on 2271 screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Dolby Vision
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $31.99
Release Date: 9/12/2023

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Kiss the Girls [4K UHD] (1997)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 20, 2023)

Back in 1993, James Patterson’s “Alex Cross” series of detective novels started with Along Came a Spider. However, when the books leapt to the big screen, Patterson’s second text made it there first.

Patterson published Kiss the Girls in 1995. 1997 brought that tale to theaters.

In Washington DC, Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) works as a police forensic psychologist. A mix of personal and professional concerns sends him to North Carolina when his niece Naomi (Gina Ravera) goes missing.

Local authorities believe a serial kidnapper/murderer referred to as “Casanova” took Naomi. Along with the assistance of escaped abduction victim Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd), Cross works to solve the case.

Should we consider the 1990s to act as the “Golden Age” of serial killer movies? I don’t know, but given that it included Silence of the Lambs and Se7en - arguably the genre’s two finest films ever – this topic became more dominant in that decade than before or since then.

Because Freeman stars in both, the connections to Se7en become apparent, but otherwise, Kiss much more closely resembles Lambs. Both involve villains who kidnap/imprison their victims for specific purposes and who get known by nicknames with historical connections.

This doesn’t make Kiss a Lambs clone, but the similarities don’t seem coincidental. Despite its twists, we can feel like we find ourselves in a Lambs semi-remake more than an original project.

Kiss finds it difficult to overcome its derivative nature. Whether due to the source text from Patterson, the screenplay from David Klass or the direction from Gary Fleder, the movie never finds much of a stimulating path.

Even without the direct comparisons to Se7en and Lambs, Kiss simply comes with a major “been there, done that” factor. As noted, we got a lot of serial killer movies in the 1990s, and this one can’t find the creativity to rise above the pack.

Given the cast, this becomes a bigger disappointment. In addition to Freeman and Judd, we find solid talents like Cary Elwes, Brian Cox, Jay O. Sanders, Bill Nunn, Jeremy Piven and Tony Goldwyn.

None of them seem especially invested in the material, perhaps because they realize they got stuck in a mediocre thriller. Despite ample room for tension and drama, Kiss winds up as a wholly lackluster flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus F

Kiss the Girls appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The Dolby Vision presentation looked more than watchable but didn’t exactly excel.

Which seemed to be the “blame” of the source, as Kiss went with a semi-murky vibe. Overall sharpness felt fine, though these photographic choices meant we only occasionally found shots that seemed particularly well-defined.

I suspect some noise reduction came along for the ride during the many low-light interiors, which added to the semi-dull impression. Nonetheless, a lot of this seemed to come from stylistic decisions, so for the most part, the image appeared to replicate the source.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, but some light edge haloes cropped up at times. In terms of print flaws, a couple small specks materialized but I saw nothing prominent.

Colors went stylized, with an emphasis on greens, blues and ambers. Given the aforementioned murkiness of the image, these didn’t impress but they appeared to demonstrate the intended tones, and HDR added some intensity at times.

Blacks seemed reasonably dark, and low-light shots felt fairly smooth – albeit also impacted by the muddy vibe the filmmakers apparently intended. HDR gave whites and contrast a bit of a boost. This became a decent to good image but nothing memorable.

Expect superior work from the movie’s active DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack – although I might find it to be too active. The soundfield could go a little nuts at times and overuse the surround channels.

Still, that became a minor complaint, as the soundscape usually provided a pretty engaging spectrum. All five channels produced a good sense of setting, and sequences that boasted action allowed for some involving material.

Audio quality worked well, with speech that remained natural and concise. Music seemed lively and full.

Effects showed solid reproduction, with clean highs and tight lows. Though I thought it went a bit wild at times, the mix still seemed satisfying.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray from 2015? Both came with identical DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio.

As for the Dolby Vision image, it felt better defined and more vivid than the mediocre Blu-ray. However, the mix of modest tampering – via edge haloes and light noise reduction – and the dingy nature of the source meant this wasn’t a stellar upgrade. I preferred the 4K to the Blu-ray but I couldn’t claim it blew away its predecessor.

No extras appear on the 4K. The set lacks the aforementioned Blu-ray, though it also came with no bonus features.

A wholly uninspired thriller, Kiss the Girls brings nothing fresh to the serial killer genre. Despite a strong cast, the movie feels flat and uninvolving. The 4K UHD comes with good audio but visuals seem inconsistent and the disc lacks bonus materials. Expect a forgettable movie.

To rate this film visit the Blu-Ray review of KISS THE GIRLS

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main