Shane Black is back in the director's chair this week with The Nice Guys, which will be the third feature film of his directing career.
The Nice Guys sees Black take audiences back to 1970s Los Angeles where a private eye and an enforcer (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe) team up. But it was another buddy comedy that kicked off Black's directing career... of course, I am talking about the terrific Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
It was back in 2005 when Kiss Kiss Bang Bang hit the big screen - hard to believe that it was a decade ago - and it marked the first collaboration between Robert Downey Jr and Black; who would go on to direct Iron Man 3. Black had made a name for himself as a writer with the Lethal Weapon franchise and The Long Kiss Goodnight scripts under his belt.
While Kiss Kiss Bang Bang saw Black demonstrate his writing skills once again, the movie also marked his feature film directorial debut. The movie was a big screen adaptation of the novel b y Brett Halliday and saw Downey Jr play a thief, alongside Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan as a private eye and a struggling actress. The three of them are thrown together when they become embroiled in a murder case, which is packed with twists, turns, and plenty of danger.
Downey Jr has starred in some great movies and delivered some wonderful performances during his career, but Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of his finest - and it remains one of my favourites. It is a great satire movie that blends elements of action, comedy, and neo-noir: paying homage to the latter in fine style.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a sharp, witty, and delightful film that shows off Downey Jr at his comic best. The popular actor has always been great when it comes to improv performances and you can see that he is in his element and his wonderful comic timing shines through from start to finish. When it comes to comedy performances, this is one of Downey Jr's best of his career.
Downey Jr has a great chemistry with Val Kilmer, who plays private investigator gay Perry, and the duo makes a wonderful double act. The banter between the two is just fantastic and they play off each other with great perfect - and very funny - comic timing. Kilmer has not had too many great roles in recent years, but Kiss Kiss Bang Bang really is one of his best.
What I love about the movie the most is it never takes itself too seriously. Of course, it is driven by a great script and some wonderful acting performances, but it is a movie that is a whole lot of fun; I just love the carefree nature of it all. And all of that is thanks to writer Shane Black.
Black really understands the neo-noir genre, he pays homage to it as well as pokes fun at it, and he puts a modern and fresh feel to a film genre that we know so well. This may be the directorial debut for Black, but he helms Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with assurance and confidence and it really is a terrific first film.
For me, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was one of the best movies of 2005 and is driven by a wonderful comedic performance from Robert Downey Jr. Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan are also great, but it is Downey Jr that really steals the show from opening scene to closing credits.
Sadly, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang did not receive a wide release and it was not as big a box office success that it should have been. However, if you are a Downey Jr fan, this is the film that you really cannot afford to miss, as it is a crime gem.