Monday, 1 August 2011
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
It upsets me substantially, as a smartass myself, that not enough action films wisecrack these days. Maybe that Michael Bays fault, who has taken summer blockbusters by the balls despite being only capable of coming up with awful scripts. The man can’t make a bloody plot, let alone dialogue.
Once upon a time though, aka the 80’s, action films were like Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop where the action was indistinct from the comedy. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a sharp tongued, clever and inventive thriller from a few years back that revisits this style very well.
Robert Downey Jnr. plays the lead but is a million miles away from the suave, charismatic heroes he is type cast as today. Here he is a petty crook, completely incompetent except for some amazing luck. Without the glamorous clothes, tightly trimmed beard and tan he looks like a legitimate bug eyed loser but his face is ever expressive and he makes a fun anti-hero. He also narrates the movies with a dry, witty and sincerely funny spark “Ah, fuck, I forgot to tell you about the giant robot, y’know, like when your Dad tells a joke? Fuck this is bad narrating”
He is accompanied by “Gay Perry”; “Are you, *ahem*?” “Gay? No; I’m knee deep in pussy I just like the name so much/sarcasm/”. He is cranky and spits off one liners with perfect timing. It feels like the role Val Kilmer was born to play and the chemistry between the two leads really holds the film together.
Michelle Monaghan is “that girl”, both damaged and feisty, it doesn’t hurt she is wickedly smart and beautiful in equal measure across the film. It feels daft explaining the plot, it twists so often any detail would be a spoiler, but this has more than a wink and a nudge to old noir thrillers. Suffice to say, mistakes are made, baddies are killed, twists are twisted and jokes are fired off in abundance. The action here is spot on and peppered evenly and generously throughout. The screenplay gets great mileage out of the brilliant script and performances. This film is easily better than any of the Lethal Weapon films and the smart-alex tone is refreshing and done to perfection.
For all the sarcasm and self-referential humour this film has a feel good quality and is a quality watch with a friend or two. You can watch it now if you have Lovefilm, if not it’s not hard to find and is great fun.