Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Previously in Black: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Can we all just agree that we didn't all see this movie when it first came out?  With the $1 Billion and counting success of Iron Man 3, a lot more attention is suddenly being paid to the first pairing of Robert Downey Jr and Shane Black.  The film- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  For those of you who don't know all about him, here's some quick info on Shane Black.  For many years, Black was just a Screenwriter, the faceless voice behind such films as Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad and Last Action Hero.  Black has always seemed to have an ironic sensibility and a desire to mess with cliches.  A lot of his works have been deconstructions of tropes and ideals of Writing.  The title of this film reflects this, as Kiss Kiss, Bang is a sardonic summary of what Action Film Scripts (like Black wrote) are.  The film is about Downey Jr ending up in Hollywood due to a series of bizarre circumstances and stumbling across a mystery involving a lady from his past.  The whole thing is somewhat lamp shaded by the fictitious crime stories about Johnny Gossamer that him and the woman love.  That's just a taste of the Meta styling of this film.  If you're a fan of Downey Jr in the role of Tony Stark, this role is a bit different, while still managing to strike many familiar notes.  To give you a MOSTLY SPOILER-free look at this *now* Cult Classic, read on...
After a cold open that will make more sense later, we meet Downey Jr as Harry Lockhart, who is going to be Narrating this tale of just one year prior.  When your Narrator tells you that he's your Narrator, you just might be Meta!
Lockhart is a petty thief in New York who flees a robbery gone awry and runs right into an Open Audition.  His real emotions over what just happened convince the people that he's 'a Method Actor.'  You're going to Hollywood, dawg!
At a bar, he meets Harmony Lane, who he eventually recognizes as a girl from his past.  Harry the Narrator then apologizes for 'being a bad Narrator,' but also says that we should have figured out that the Intro was important.

Meta Burn!
Lockhart is sent out with 'Gay Perry' (Val Kilmer), a P.I. who is supposed to Tutor him for the part.  Unfortunately, their 'average stake-out' turns them into witnesses to a Murder.  Uh oh.
This is a Shane Black film, so, naturally, it's set at Christmas.

Seriously, Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, this film and Iron Man 3 are all set around this holiday.  Weird, right?
As Perry, Lane and Lockhart get deeper into this case involving a dead sister, two missing bodies and a lot of money, things get dangerous.  Who could be behind it?
The answer(s) is/are a bit weird.  Naturally, I won't SPOIL this reveal in any way.  I'm a dick/hero like that.
Instead, I'll give you a quick look at this super META moment from the ending scene.  Awesome.
 Oh and for all of you who don't find Downey Jr's sardonic persona funny, here's one for you.  The End.
Honestly, I don't have a lot left to say.  Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a funny movie.  It's just that simple.  Granted- humor is subjective.  After all, about five people seem to find Tim & Eric funny.  That said, most of the film is built around Robert Downey Jr's sardonic banter.  This same banter was in The Avengers (over $1 billion gross) and the Iron Man trilogy (nearly $2 billion gross in total), so it seems to be pretty popular.  The film's charms may not work on everyone, but they certainly did on me.  I would love to see more films narrated by Robert Downey Jr- provided that his lines were written by either Shane Black or Joss Whedon. It's one of those films where its relative obscurity works in its favor- an argument hard to make if you're one of the people who funded it, mind you.  If you still haven't tracked down this film, do yourself a favor and do it.  Given how well Iron Man 3 has done, you'll want to hurry before everyone and their mother sees it first.  Take us away, shot with zero context...
Up next, another Remake of a Classic film.  When in doubt, give it to a bunch of Englishmen with $20,000.  Stay tuned...

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