kiss kiss bang bang | movie review

Posted on March 28, 2012

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Not since Shane Black gave us Lethal Weapon has there been a comedy, thriller, action, buddy cop movie that I’ve enjoyed so much. Robert Downey Jr plays Harry Lockhart, a petty thief who inadvertently finds himself being cast in an acting role and is carted off to shadow Val Kilmer’s cop, ‘Gay Perry’. Soon Harry is embroiled in a double murder case involving his childhood sweetheart, whom he bumps into at a party.

First off let me just say, without further-a-do,  If you are a fan of Robert Downey Jnr, or Val Kilmer, then this movie is an absolute treat. It’s pure nonsense, with plenty of smart dialogue, hilarious moments that feel completely unscripted, and in no way takes itself seriously. For example there’s one scene where Perry turns up at Harry’s apartment to help him dispose of a body. He walks in and asks, “Is this it?”, to which Harry quips “This? No, this is one belongs to the guy who had the room before me. Of course this is it!” It’s that kind of banter and chemistry between the two leads that make KKBB so enjoyable to watch.
What Black has created here isn’t a movie to get deeply drawn into, it’s simply a movie that does what movies are meant to do… entertain! What helps is that you  really like the characters, you are interested in their stories and where this story will take them. Honestly, there’s not one boring moment in the whole 103 minutes.
There’s also the narration by Harry, but it’s not done in a way you’d expect. He pauses the movie, reels back, swears about how incompetent he is at the whole narrating thing. It’s refreshing and in an odd way sits quite nicely in the whole movie.

I’ve seen this movie twice now, and even though I knew where the witty script was going and when to expect the physical gags, they were still funny and had me laughing out loud. There were even moments of brilliant writing that I had simply forgotten about.
Kudos to Michelle Monaghan for her role as Harmony, Harry’s childhood sweetheart. I saw her recently in Source Code and Machine Gun Preacher, and she’s great here too. She gives us a character to symathise with who finds in a place where decisions she made from her past catch up to her with devastating effect.
It’s as her story unfolds that there are moments of heartfelt sadness. Moments that are played subtly but to brilliant effect that refer to abuse and abandonment, truth and lies, family and friendship. They don’t overpower the story but they add enough to give the story some gravitas.

@ValEKilmer hinted on Twitter that there’s likely to be a sequel back in 2009. Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.

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