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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Review

Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr take aim in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5


SHANE Black is the writing genius who gave cinema audiences the buddy-action movie franchise.

Remember Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight? Great movies. Fast-paced, fast-talking and boasting some kick-arse action.

Having established a genre unto himself, however, Mr Black disappeared from the scene as numerous copycat buddy movies attempted to cash in.

A decade later, he’s back and more ambitious than ever. Not content with merely writing a movie, Black is now directing and the result is pure cinema dynamite – an explosive treat that, once again, flips a genre on its head to deliver one of the most satisfying movie experiences of the year.

Part pulp fiction, part film noir and most definitely buddy-orientated, this genre deconstruction finds Robert Downey Jr as fast-talking, two-bit thief, Harry, who lands himself in LA following a bungled shop heist.

Having convinced a casting crew of his worth as an ‘actor’, Harry is forced to team up with Val Kilmer’s homosexual PI, ‘Gay’ Perry, for some tips on the industry but instead winds up investigating at least two murder cases.

To complicate matters still further, his High School sweetheart, Harmony (Michelle Monaghan), seems to be involved with both, having fallen on hard times herself upon arriving in LA.

The ensuing plot defies easy explanation but provides Black with the perfect showcase to dazzle us with his skills.

Both Downey Jr and Kilmer are pitch-perfect as the bickering couple, thriving on a near-constant supply of wisecracks and one-liners that might have seemed flat in different hands.

While Monaghan is suitably feisty as the femme-fatale, providing a sultry presence for Downey Jr to get worked up about.

The villains come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes just existing to get blown away – but as with his previous movies, Black always conjures an inventive demise for each and all.

And let’s not forget the set pieces themselves – slick, well-edited and suitably bloody, they merely provide the gloss to an extremely well-polished package.

Some might argue that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a little too smug and self-referential for its own good, especially if you find voice-over narratives a little annoying.

But the majority should pucker up and enjoy the all-too seductive charms this has to offer. It’s a blast from start to finish.