Kiss Bang Kiss Bang … that’s about all there is
Directed by: Shane Black
Written by: Shane Black, based on the novel by Brett Halliday
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
Welcome to L.A – a ridiculous, topsy-turvy place where thieves can pose as actors, reunite with their childhood sweetheart and solve a murder mystery with a private detective. Nothing is as it seems, and if you have a fast-talking Robert Downey Jr (who I will now refer to as RDJ) narrating a funny murder mystery, be prepared to get tied up in too many plot twists and turns that leave you feeling a little overwhelmed, confused and well… slow. Welcome to Shane Black’s directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
While Shane Black is best known for his Lethal Weapon screenplay that led to a sequel, a threequel and a fourth instalment, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang totes the same comedy and action blend that makes for a witty modern day murder mystery. Don’t get me wrong, there is a spank to the dialogue and fast-paced events that makes the film entertaining at best, but when the film as a whole feels cluttered and messy, the plot lacks credibility and fails to engage the audience (since some of them are sure to be scratching their heads and tuning out).
Nevertheless, RDJ and Val Kilmer turn out to be a well-matched comedic duo as their co-operation to solve murder after murder (or cover up their own) result in surprisingly funny lines and dead-body gags.
So while Kiss Kiss Bang Bang might not really end with a bang – in fact, it seriously needs to simplify its plot in order to effectively hold an audience – the performances and comical moments in this modern noir are enough to make you sit through its whopping 103 minutes.