Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Detective Film, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)  |   Release Date - Oct 21, 2005 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Perry Seibert

With his scripts for Lethal Weapon and its first sequel, Shane Black helped to create and arguably perfect the modern action film. After taking nearly a decade off from the screen, he returns with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, a film that yet again shows that Black understands how to do this kind of material better than almost anyone. Black always remembered that story and character mattered. Action scenes come a dime a dozen, but even a rote chase scene is more suspenseful if the audience cares about the characters. For Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Black steals from the best -- Raymond Chandler. The murder mystery at the heart of the film matters less than the self-referential games Black and his able cast are playing with the material. In Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, Black has found two actors capable of maintaining the tricky tone he wants to achieve, a tone that mocks the conventions of the genre he helped popularize while also firmly accepting its place in that genre. The only director who consistently performs to this high a standard with this kind of material is Quentin Tarantino, and while Black lacks Tarantino's visual flair, he can almost match Quentin's gift for story structure. Slick, funny, and very self-aware, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang provides an entertaining experience for those familiar with its antecedents as well as for those who simply enjoy a rousing action comedy.