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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

March 22, 2010

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Now back to one of my favorite films of all time.  This is an all so serious romp into the world of improbable crime movies, such as the Lethal Weapon series.  It pokes fun at those types of film with great glee creating a very entertaining story.  Shane Black, the director and screenwriter, knew what he was doing as he was the screenwriter for the original Lethal Weapon movie, and apparently for a fifth one that will be coming out in 2012.

The story starts out with a series of wonderful improbabilities and a whole bunch of absurd narration by Robert Downey Jr.’s character.  The narration is a great part of this film.  Normally I don’t like voice overs, but in this case it adds so much to the story because of how absurd it was and how hacked together it is.  Downey Jr. plays a small time thief in New York City who on a botched heist accidentally gets himself a screen test for a role in the next big Hollywood production, playing a private eye.  He moves out to L.A. for the screen test and some on the job shadowing of a private eye named Gay Perry, played wonderfully by Val Kilmer.  From there it turns into a completely absurd run through a massive series improbable and illogical events which tie into Harry Lockart (Downey Jr.’s character) past and ramble through him, Gay Perry, and Lockart’s old flame Harmony Faith Lane (played by Michelle Monaghan) eventually solving an absurd pulp fiction style of case.

For as odd of a comedy as this, the acting is just great.  Robert Downey Jr. can always play an eccentric slightly crazy person who is full of themselves (see Iron Man) and he plays the role of the criminal out of his element extremely well.  Val Kilmer gives a great performance as Gay Perry, the private investigator.  He delivers his lines with the pomp and circumstance that he should.  Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen do a wonderful job in their supporting roles and everyone else in the cast doesn’t disappoint, even if they don’t have the same size of a role as the main characters do.  It is a film where the actors appear to be having fun making the film and it shows in the screen with good acting performances all around.

Visually this film goes Hollywood.  A bunch of the film takes place at Hollywood style parties, or at least what the media always portrays them as.  The action scenes are shot with gusto and are all made on a grand scale.  It doesn’t have the wide sweeping shorts that you expect to see in a great cinematographic film, but so often those shots are misplaced, and in a big city like L.A., there isn’t a need for grand overview shots like that.  The filming meets the style of the film very well.

This film is just the perfect romp for an action comedy.  The only other action comedy that I’ve ever seen that rivals this film is Hot Fuzz which in many ways spoofs the same style of film as this one does.  The acting and the action come together perfectly to make a film that you can enjoy for both the action and comedy aspects.  It’s the only film that Shane Black has directed, but we can always hope that he does more comedies like this.

Entertainment Grade: A

Critical Grade: B

Overall Grade: A

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