Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Year: 2005
Director: Shane Black
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
Written by Rhys Wortham

I try to stay away from most buddy cop movies, mainly because they are either cliché or you can see the same thing (usually done better) on a TV cop show. There are some films that do this genre well, such as the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series and ‘Rush Hour’, although both are somewhat character driven rather then story driven sometimes. On the other hand there are ones like ‘Loose Cannons’ that tries too much to be everything and accomplishes nothing, or ‘White Chicks’ that bases itself on the premise that two handsome black man can disguise themselves as two white women and somehow not still look like men. Sorry fellas, you didn’t fool anyone. It ranges from the too silly, like ‘Police Academy’, to the very depressing, like ‘The Departed’. Its a mixed bag and sometimes they just aren’t marketed well. 

‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ from director Shane Black isn’t about the usual wacky comedy crime duo. In any duo, one is usually the straight man, who is anything but straight, and the other is a comic relief, but both you can relate to on some level. Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is a down on his luck guy who see everyone else living their lives happily, while the only love he’s ever known is getting her cervix tested by every dog in town that wants to bury his bone. Haven’t we all been there? While Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) is the street-wise guy who doesn’t like his job, people, you, nor his inability to help people when going gets rough. It’s a nihilist perspective while still trying to see the sunny side of life. 

These two work well because Harry’s moronic antics lead to better questions and help solve the mysteries faster, Gay’s tactics are a little more based on detective work. He’s not a good guy, but not a bad one either. They counter balance each other really well as they try and struggle to work with each other. This leads to some great dialogue and some really funny scenes, both with and without nudity. Other whimsical things happen along the way, in the vein of ‘The Three Stooges’, except in this case, a few people actually die. 

This movie is definitely worth watching at least once. It captures a quirky person with the comedic ideals of someone like Bill Burr or Seth MacFarlane while still being grounded in reality and working with someone who’s probably going to get someone grounded, in a meat grinder. It’s slightly different because of it’s continuous commentary on Hollywood and how the whole crime drama genre is a farce of itself sometimes. It excels as a crime drama because it emotionally brutalizes a normal fellow like Harry while giving enough to Gay to go on to solve the mystery. 

I liked this, but the continued humour might ruin it for some. Seeing someone bleed out their chest after a few punch lines might leave something to be desired, but with a little something for everyone, if anything it might be a good movie for a date. 

Rhys’ rating: 7.5 out of 10

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