Directed by: Shane Black
Premise: Robert Downey Jr. plays a burglar-turned actor who is paired with a struggling actress (Michelle Monaghan) and a private detective (Val Kilmer) after he gets involved in a murder mystery.
What Works: This is familiar territory for writer and director Shane Black, whose filmography also includes the original Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. This film allows him to push the characters, the storytelling, and the action genre in bold new directions as he plays with the form. The film takes a lot of risks, using a lot of voice over, jumping back and forth on the timeline, and crossing the action and hardboiled crime drama. Kiss Kiss pays homage to crime dramas but pushes out into new areas with humor and with characters who are frail and authentic, if a bit over the top.
What Doesn’t: The film is bold at jerking its audience from place to place and for some viewers it is going to be too much.
DVD extras: Commentary track and a gag real.
Bottom Line: Although metatextual references have been hip in the past few years, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang does a standout job of taking the right elements of these genres to create a post-modern action comedy. It is a film that did not get much attention in theaters but is worth a look for fans of any of these kinds of films.
Episode: #107 (August 20, 2006)