Resin Heroes

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang review

This is a repost of a review I originally wrote back in 2005.

To call Kiss Kiss Bang Bang “brilliant” would be an understatement. To put it simply enough, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of the finest movies to be released in quite some time and one of the funniest as well.

In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, bumbling crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is shot running from a toy store burglary, leaving his partner behind worse for wear in an ally. Harry only escapes police pursuit by ducking into a random door, which happens to be hosting a movie audition. Harry aces the audition, about a crook that leaves his wounded partner behind, by really getting into character, crying and screaming. The producers think he’s using “Method Acting” to get into character but in fact he’s simply reacting to that night’s events.

Harry finds himself out in L.A. to audition for studio executives and meets “Gay” Perry (Val Kilmer), a private detective hired to coach Harry on his upcoming audition who, as his name/nick-name so quaintly says, happens to be gay.

Harry accompanies Perry on a case observing a cabin in the woods where the two stumble across the murder of a woman locked in a trunk of a car driven into a lake. It quickly becomes apparent that the whole thing’s a set-up meant to pin the body on Harry and Perry. And when the sister of a woman Harry met at a party whom Harry knew as a child in Indiana turns up dead via suicide, everything starts to make sense. Or does it?

In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, character Harry narrates the movie at times literally stopping the action in its tracks, skipping around in time and scene spouting lines like, “How ’bout it, filmgoer? Have you solved the case of the – the dead people in L.A.?” At other times, Harry breaks the fourth wall commenting on the movie as it plays out on the screen. Harry remarks that he hates tacked on Hollywood endings where people who should be dead from their wounds turn up alive at the end of the movie, and that why doesn’t everyone who died in the movie come back? With that, the door of Harry’s room opens and every character killed during the preceding two hours walks in as if they were at a family reunion. Then, to cap it all off, an actor wearing a very bad Abe Lincoln costume walks through the door, then Elvis…

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang feels as if the movie Lethal Weapon were written by someone who had worked on the television series Arrested Development – it has that sort of irrelevance for the genre as well as letting the audience in on the joke. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang isn’t a send-up of the genre like a Naked Gun or Airplane; it’s simply a take on it.

In fact, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was written and directed by Shane Black, writer and creator of the Lethal Weapon franchise. In the movie, Black takes the characters and concepts he first introduced nearly twenty years, dissects and twists them into something new, funny, unique and brilliant. (10/10)