Sometime after Robert Downey Jr decided he didn’t REALLY want to die a hippy, and before he became THE Robert ‘Ironman’ Downey Jr, he gave a scene-stealing performance in one of the most underrated and overlooked AWESOME movies of the last decade (it was officially voted that!), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If that’s not an effective enough introduction paragraph, I have two words for you: Shane Black.
Okay, I admit, the end of the last paragraph would work much better if you already know that at the height of his career, Black was the best paid Hollywood screenwriter, having written multi-million grossing Lethal Weapon 1 and 2, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was his directorial debut, and WHAT a debut it was!
One of the coolest films to have come out, well, any year, the movie oscillates between being a take on murder/night/detective-type classic film noir, and a wrong person/wrong place/wrong time-type classic black comedy. And the result is a murder mystery that’s ROTFL-hilarious (I swear I’ve never used that abbreviation in an article before) by the unlikely chemistry between a bumbling, pansy crook, played by Downey Jr, and a tough-talking cocky gay cop (pun not intended), played by Val Kilmer.
The two fantastic actors bounce off each other so well, it’s hard to understand why, blasphemi-cally, no one’s cast them together since. But not enough credit can be given to Black for dishing out a screenplay so funny, you’re not even distracted by a nude Michelle Monaghan! And yes! There’s a nude Michelle Monaghan in the movie too! … Okay, you are a littttttle distracted.
The story is interesting too: Harry (Downey Jr), a small-time thief, lands up the role of a detective in a Hollywood film by mistake, and is then asked to hang out with a detective, Perry (Kilmer), to prepare for his role. He also meets a starlet Harmony (Monaghan) in between, who thinks he’s a real detectives and asks him to investigate the murder of her sister. Both Harry and Perry end up getting involved in the case, and well, a lot of kiss, kiss and bang, bang ensues.
Once you are done watching the film – and watch, you better! – throw your hands up in the air, and scream with glee. Because Black is going to write and direct Ironman 3 starring Downey Jr. Hell yeah, anyone?
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
Written By: Brett Halliday and Shane Black
Directed By: Shane Black
Note: This recommendation first appeared in MTV Noise Factory, April 2011 issue
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