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Based on the novel “Bodies are where you find them” by Brett Halliday, Shane Black directs the crime comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, starring Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. The film is hilarious, loaded with witty dialogue and lots of fun plot twists. This is Black’s directorial debut, the man who more recently brought us Iron Man 3 (also starring RDJ). If you’re looking for an enjoyable, vastly well-written action comedy featuring the talents listed above; keep reading.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang tells the story of New York criminal Harry Lockheart (Downey Jr.), whose plan to rob a toy store on Christmas Eve goes wrong, resulting in the death of his partner. While running from the cops, Harry stumbles into an acting audition while trying to hide, where he manages to somehow get the part, and is moved to LA. There he receives acting lessons for his role from private investigator “Gay” Perry (Kilmer). Harry also meets a struggling actress Harmony Faith Lane (Monaghan) who he realizes was his high school crush. It doesn’t take long before the three get caught up in a murder case with plot twists around every corner.
This movie pays homage to the crime/comedy genre, and has an overall feeling similar to something like Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The overall premise comes off as a bit cheesy, the bad guys are all predictable, and the stunts leave an extremely familiar taste. But in this case, that’s not a bad thing; in fact, that’s the point of the whole film; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is so well-crafted and utilized that it seems to parody the films it aims to reflect. The one thing that doesn’t make this just another rip-off movie is Shane Black’s use of sharp, quick-witted humor, which carries it the whole way through.
I should mention that Robert Downey Jr. is one of my Top 3 favorite actors, so this film was easy to enjoy. The pairing of RDJ and Val Kilmer is something not many people may think of at first, but works better than anyone could have thought. The chemistry between the two characters flows naturally through a playful mockery of a partnership. Michelle Monaghan delivers a solid supporting performance, playing the sexy one who got away. The narration from RDJ’s character puts the icing on the cake, dissecting the film and always breaking the fourth wall.
You shouldn’t waste anymore time if you haven’t seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang yet. I’m glad I gave it watch when I did, and it is a movie I would watch again in an instant. Whether you’re a fan of action, comedy, mystery, buddy-cop, parody or thrillers, Shane Black brings to the table something for everyone.
My Reel Rating – 7.9/10