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4.1 out of 5 stars126
4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2006
And it works! Maybe not 100%, but enough to see why it got a standing ovation at Cannes.

Robert Downey Jr. plays a petty thief, propelled through unlikely circumstance to the Hollywood scene. To prepare for the part he has landed in, he has to team up with Val Kilmer's gay private detective to learn the ropes. However, what should be a run of the mill surveillance, turns out to be a dramatic dumping of a dead body. From there, the twists and revelations and action come thick and fast, with Downey Jr.'s character landing in deeper trouble as he tries hard to impress his childhood crush, played by Shannyn Sossamon. Alas, the plot is overcomplicated - we had to stop the movie and talk amongst ourselves now and again to put together what was happening - but who cares, when the acting and script are so good.

Shane Black, screenwriter of `Lethal Weapon', `The Last Boy Scout' and the `Long Kiss Goodnight', directs for the first time here - and he does it in the same punchy, funny but dark way he writes in. The format is in a Raymond Chandler like style, except obviously much more self referential. The movie starts off as it means to go on, with Downey Jr. narrating, starting with `Hi, I'll be your narrator this evening..'. Even the titles are original, reminiscent of Saul Bass.

Some people will hate it for being different, dark, and not falling into the normal categories, with difficult dark humour - I loved it for all the same reasons. It's worth a watch to make up your own mind!
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on 10 March 2007
I missed this at the movies and didn't know anything about it prior to watching it. What a brilliant film this is. The dialogue is fantastic and makes it one of those films you can watch over and over.

The action is great and the plot is really good too. If you like Coen Bro's films or films like Grosse Pointe Blank then I think you'll love this film (not that it's anything like that film).

I found it to be full of comedy throughout, some of it subtle and some of it slapstick.

The first 20 minutes or so are a bit dis-jointed but once Downey and Kilmer get together the film takes off and never stops.
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on 10 November 2006
As always Robert Downey Jnr makes the film, which is incidentally very witty, intelligent and above all entertaining. In this post modern approach to the dark, pulp fiction crime novels of the fifties the characters are very well defined and the film has a quirky air of unusualness about it. It is a black comedy of the blackest kind, but is oddly more emotionally realistic than the Tarantino films it is compared with.

A must see film for those who wish their films to be engaging and challenging.

Excellent!!
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on 23 May 2007
best ridiculous fun I've had with a film for ages, and the best Ooops-there's-a-dead-body-in-my-bathroom discovery scene I've ever watched... fell of the sofa laughing. And Kilmer! Finally a film where you don't want to tap him sharply on the head with a soup spoon every two minutes! And Downey is, at last, wonderful. And there is a terribly, terribly attractive young lady too...hang on, let me google her...Michelle Monoghan, yes, jolly nice. Also found the plot key words:Loss Of Sister / Robber / Film Noir / Dead Woman / Electrocution... Excellent beer & pizza evening fun.
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on 21 April 2006
This is a superbly well-written noir parody / tribute to crime fiction and cinema, all the while taking digs at Hollywood. Yes, there is humour - yes, there are laughs, alongside fast, witty dialogue - but the comedy isn't drawn out, and the story is essentially serious and dark.

All the characters have heart and are appealing, and this matters because you'll want to re-watch to get a firm hold of the murder-mystery plot - which does, thankfully, stand up to re-watching scrutiny. And although that plot is complex, the characters make the movie. Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan are both brilliant. Robert Downey Jr's performance is Oscar-worthy.

If you pass this up - as many did, at the cinema - you're missing a gem of a film.

On the other hand, the DVD is sadly feature-free. The visual quality is excellent as should be expected - but the film's all there is on the disc.
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on 30 July 2006
I hadn't heard of the movie but stumbled over it on Amazon. One of the best films I have seen for a long time. The film is made in a very 'spoof' type of way but IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT (someone that watched it with me didn't get that bit)!

Really funny scenes with Val Kilmers character and Robert Downey Jnr. Downey Jnr does an excellent narration for the entire script. A refreshing change from hollywood - more please!
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on 21 July 2006
This movie is just brilliant. There not much else to say about it, the story is great, the script is great, acting is great. This is one of those films that do not need an Oscar to be great; it is easy, hilarious and smart. I see that some other people comment on the narrating, but that is one of the things that makes this a good film, its ingenuity. It is an original film with a great plot. I just got to say: Buy it! You will love it, I did.
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on 15 June 2006
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang falls into the category of one of those movies that you just want to love. Débuting to rave reviews when it was in theatres, the film purports to be a gritty re-imagining of the Los Angeles noir film, a modern day spoof of the hard-boiled detective genre. And in all fairness, the film does deliver up some irreverent fun, and some sly, dark humor, but the wacky voice-overs, like so much else, proves just too tiresome.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang also has a plot that is just so convoluted. By the end of the film you will neither care nor want to know who and what the body count is. It's not that director Shane Black isn't stylish and inventive - the film is gorgeously shot and the production design unsurpassed - but Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang ultimately turns into a film that is too flagrantly pleased with itself, so smugly love with its own cleverness, that the jokes wear thin long before the movie has ended.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as Harry Lockhart, the narrator and small-time from New York City who after a spoiled robbery runs away from the cops into an audition and is mistaken for an actor. He winds up in Los Angeles for a possible acting gig as a private detective on a pulp movie. The studio teams Harry with the tough private eye Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), nicknamed "Gay" because of his sexual orientation.

Harry also hooks up with Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan), who at sixteen left her small Indiana town to make her fame as an actress in Hollywood. He had a crush on her back then and her arrival in the City of Angeles is a portent for the fact that two unrelated young girls have just been murdered and one of their bodies shows up the a lake.

The plot becomes increasingly hyper-complex, filled with shootings, corpses, and references to old-fashioned crime fiction novels. It's as though Harry is almost tempting the viewers with all the devilish plot machinations, asking us whether we have solved it yet. Robert Downey Jr. is indeed a great actor and here he looks hotter than ever, and while his character is momentarily fun, after a while, his voice over narration and silly antics just become irritating.

Los Angeles viewers will certainly get a kick out of some of the stunning location work - particularly the use of Downtown and Macarthur Park for some of the main action scenes. But the violence eventually comes across as rather over-baked and the joke-fuelled and casual camaraderie between Harry and Perry often seems forced and over-written.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang isn't offensive even though it's quite violent. Indeed it has a cuteness and hippness that a lot of viewers are going to like. The problem is that it's just trying too hard to be in vogue. By the third act, I'd had enough and fast-forwarded it with the subtitles on to see how it ended. Even talented actors like Downey and Kilmer couldn't save it from wallowing in its own showiness and meaninglessness. Mike Leonard June 06.
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on 1 June 2006
I saw this in the cinema when it first came out. Regular movie trips had become almost tradition so on one week when we were stuck for something to watch, we folloed the reviews and saw this. I was more than pleasantly surprised. The humour is strong, frequently reducing the audience to fits of laughter. The plot twists and turns and although it can get quite hard to follow the acting is top notch and truly outstanding. The one liners in particular are expertly delivered with fantastic timing.

All in all, a really enjoyable film for anyone who likes intelligent plot lines and great comedy.
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"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" was originally the name of a 1966 Italian movie, "Bacia e spara," the noted film critic Pauline Kael used for her second collection of film reviews in the 1960s. Kael had seen a poster for the movie in Italy and considered it to be a reduction of the basic appeal of the movies to its simplest terms, sex and violence, a reality of which she despaired. Director Shane Black, working in part from Brett Halliday's novel, "Bodies Are Where You Find Them," tries to provide a bit more than sex and violence in this 2005 film, but more importantly he has fun with the sex and violence.

Black wrote most of the "Lethal Weapons" pictures as well as "The Last Action Hero," although my personal favorite (and the only one I have on the shelf) was "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (Hey, "chefs do that"). His central character and narrator is Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.), who we meet at a Hollywood party. This necessitates explaining how he ended up at the party where he met a girl, Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan), which then requires Harry to backtrack and explain how she ended up at the party, as well as the story about the robot. Harry is not exactly up to speed on what is required of a decent narrator, but you should be paying attention to what he shows you if not to what he says, because things will matter down the road. Off the cuff references to the properties of Silly Putty turn out to be foreshadowing, and if Black does that with minor points you can expect the larger ones to pop up that way as well.

In addition to the girl, Harry meets up with (saw it slow and elongate the last syllable) Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), a private eye who is supposed to provide Harry with private eye lessons on the off chance he ends up playing on in a movie, which gets us back to why Harry is in Hollywood, not to mention the party. Then Harry stumbles upon what will be the first of several dead bodies and the next thing we know Harry is pretending to be a detective in order to impress the girl. There is more bang bang than kiss kiss in this film, and some of the kiss kiss is not exactly in the traditional Hollywood mold. I really do not want to get into details because you are better off if you just experience the film instead of me trying to explain it.

All things considered, I liked the bits and pieces of this movie more than the summation of the parts. I especially liked the bit where Harry tries to persuade someone to persuade to a bluff only to find the math did not work out in his favor, and the piece where Harry finally gets to toss aside his gun with one of the more understated big lines of recent memory. There is a bit more of black comedy here than of film noir, even if Harmony is fascinated by the pulp detective yarns of her youth, but that is fine with me. For all of his ups and downs Downey usually makes movies only during the ups, which is why he is almost always worth watching. He also shows a nice sense of restraint as an actor in the face of the over the top action that Black concocts for him again and again. Kilmer lays things on a bit thick, but he is clearly trying to have fun (even on the commentary track with Downey and Black), and Monaghan certainly manages to keep pace with her male co-stars.
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