Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Robert Downey Jr’s Secret Best Film


Written by Luke Barnes


A tongue in cheek take on the hard boiled detective stories of old.

Many people point to The Nice Guys as one of Shane Black’s best films, but more people than that seem to forget that before Black made that film he made this one, and in many ways this film is almost better.

I think the most obvious merit of this film is the fact that the satire and subversion of the genre is done so spectacularly well that layers can be seen within the commentary. This is not a film of references to other famous moments from other genre fare, or even scene mimicry, no this is a deconstruction of the genre to an almost subatomic level. Through this film Black is taking apart the hard boiled detective story and lampooning it whilst also creating something that feels both similar yet markedly different.   

The other boon for this film is Robert Downey Jr on top form in a pre-Tony Stark age. Though Downey Jr is the star of the piece he is strongly supported by Val Kilmer with whom he has great chemistry. The two men together really bring a tour de force in terms of performance to this film, and it certainly ranks amongst Downey Jr’s best films.

My one slight criticism of this film is that in places the pace becomes a little clawing and it could do with being made tighter. This is a problem for a lot of films.

Overall, perhaps Shane Black’s best film.


Downey Jr

The satire

It is both funny as well as engaging and tense

The chemistry between the leads


The pace

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