Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

February 7, 2014 at 11:17am

Check This Out: "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (2005)

Not too old for this: Kilmer and Downey

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Writer's note: This will be my last installment of recommmended films you can find at local libraries. Enjoy.

If you still wonder why Iron Man 3 felt like a movie straight out of the '90s (this film opened with Eiffel 65's "Blue" and dressed a character as Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, for starters), I'd ask writer-director Shane Black. The author behind the Lethal Weapon franchise and (at least to me) the ultimate Schwarzenegger vehicle, Last Action Hero, brought to IM3 his trademark witty dialogue and penchant for setting Christmastime crimes in warm climes. And he must also like Robert Downey, Jr. (who doesn't, right?), since both appeared in an earlier Black film, 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

The first kiss in Kiss Kiss happens between Downey and Val Kilmer in an alley at night. The second and final kiss we see comes later, between Downey and Michelle Monaghan in bed. Swirling around these pecks is a fast-paced, intricate and very enjoyable plot involving an accidental screen test, a severed finger, and Jonny Gossamer, writer of a series of potboilers that always seem to have the words "live" or "die" in their titles. And I can't forget all the murders and shooting (hence the Bang Bang).

As he proved with Last Action Hero, Black knows all too well the ins and outs and upside-down strangeness of La-La land and uses it all to great comedic effect in KKBB. Always in deadpan mode, Downey's meta voiceover admits to us frequently his crappiness as a narrator, and at the conclusion to his own character's tale he ruminates on sappy endings in movies. One of the best moments comes when Harry Lockhart (Downey), a petty thief running from the cops, stumbles into an audition and reads from a script that describes his situation perfectly.

Lockhart gets the part (cuz it's Downey, doy!), gets whisked off to an insider party and there meets a private eye known as Gay Perry (Kilmer) and spunky aspiring actress Harmony Faith Lane (aww!). Perry and Harmony each stumble across a corpse, with Harry getting thrown into the middle. But could both murders have a connection??? I'll go with the old "to say any more would spoil it!" cliche here.

Despite all the memorable one-liners and winks at life in L.A., and all the shit gettin' blowed up, this story really comes down to three people who don't exactly sync with the city and just need others for connection. The interactions between Harry and Harmony crackle with potential romance, and the film ends sweetly on Perry and Harry recovering together after their ordeal, strangers turned friends after one very unusual week in SoCal's dream factory.      

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