Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Rated R; Directed by Shane Black; Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
|Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer show me a good time|
“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” showed up in the movie theatres earlier this year without much fanfare. A film noir comedy, written and directed by Shane Black (writer of “Lethal Weapon”), the movie stuck around for a few weeks and disappeared. What a shame. This is one of those surprising movies that sneak up on you and become one of your favorites.
Starring two of Hollywood’s bad boys traveling down the road to nowhere, Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” shows why these two actors still deserve a trip down the road to success. Downey plays Harry Lockhart, a petty thief, who after a botched robbery, accidentally finds himself at a casting call. He goes along with it to hide from the cops. His performance earns him a trip to Los Angeles for another audition. The producer (Larry Miller) has Harry team up with a detective for some research. Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) is the cynical detective who knows Hollywood, and yes, he is gay. As Perry tries to show Harry the ropes they stumble upon a murder. Within 24 hours there is another death. The bright side among all the bodies is that Harry meets up with his old high school crush, Harmony (Michelle Monaghan).
The script offers a decent mystery, but the real delight is in the characters. Harry and Perry are fun to watch as they try to figure out what’s going on, while Harmony is a quirky enough heroine that she doesn’t bog down the action. From the beginning you know this movie doesn’t take itself seriously. Harry’s narration is hilarious and Downey delivers it with a wicked humor.
Robert Downey is the charmer in this film. His Harry Lockhart is not the brightest thief, but he does have a heart that gets him tangled up into a situation beyond his control. When things get a little heavy for Harry, Downey plays it perfectly. Val Kilmer’s Perry is full of sarcasm and does his best to stay, or at least seem, cool. The scenes between Downey and Kilmer keep you grinning and wanting more. Michelle Monaghan (“Mission Impossible III”) plays Harmony with smarts and enthusiasm. How could Harry not fall for her? The cast of “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” won me over. You can’t help but root for them.
Shane Black’s first stint as a director is successful. Though the movie didn’t make money at the box office it wasn’t the director’s fault. He kept a light touch throughout and kept things going at a nice clip. There’s no time to get bored.
It is a shame that a movie deserving of more attention just didn’t get the chance. I hope it wins approval on DVD. Clever writing, smart direction, and a gifted Robert Downey, Jr. deserve viewing.