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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang': A Satiric Action-Comedy About a Disparate Duo Embroiled in a Murder Mystery


Movie poster for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) is a lively neo-noir action comedy starring Robert Downey Jr. as Harry Lockhart, a New York-based crook who stumbles into an open casting call for a new thriller film. Desperately evading the police after a botched heist, Harry impresses the casting agent by channeling his anxiety into the reading—earning himself a subsequent screen test in Hollywood.


Arriving in Los Angeles, Harry is soon introduced to "Gay Perry" van Shrike (Val Kilmer), a private investigator hired to provide him with real-world training in investigative procedures. During their first stakeout together, the pair witnesses the disposal of a corpse that forces them into the case of the missing daughter of retired Hollywood heavyweight Harlan Dexter (Corbin Bernsen). Harry meanwhile reunites with childhood crush Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan), whose missing sister is tied to Dexter as well—these disparate characters converging in a complex web of entanglement.


Written and directed by Shane Black (Iron Man 3, The Predator) and based in-part on the novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them by Brett Halliday, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a wry homage to the works of novelist Raymond Chandler and the film noir era of the 1940's-50's. Black employs the mismatched-duo formula he has exercised in various fashions (from Lethal Weapon to The Nice Guys) to deliver one of his more enjoyable creations—an affectionate sendup of hard-boiled cinema that never takes itself too seriously—allowing Downey and Kilmer to shine in their singular roles.

 

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