Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a twisted murder mystery that defies any logical explanation. Its core story is baffling and confusing, yet somehow delivers just enough logic to keep the viewer involved in the banter between Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. for the duration. Bang Bang is too much fun to fail.
To make some semblance of the plot, try to follow: Downey is a thief, who while escaping from a job gone wrong, lands a role on a detective show. While shadowing a real detective (Kilmer) to learn about his role, murders begun happening around him. Downey meets up with Michelle Monaghan who also happens to wrapped up in all of this as a struggling actress.
It’s absurdly funny, narrated with loads of wit from Downey. Kilmer is at his best, somehow keeping up with Downey. The script, written by Lethal Weapon writer Shane Black, moves at a ridiculous pace. It comes at the cost of clarity, but not laughs. The story is almost secondary as the would-be detective and the detective unravel an increasing body count.
Bang Bang has buddy movie qualities, but doesn’t qualify. Kilmer and Downey never hate each other as the genre usually goes, but more or less annoy themselves intentionally. It’s a bizarre pairing, but it works.
Full of dark humor, sex jokes, one-liners, and some physical laughs, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a sadly overlooked crime comedy that flopped at the box office. Hopefully, despite the goofy unexplainable plot, it can find a cult audience that will give this one a wider acceptance. It may not be much for plot, but it entertains. That’s what counts. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
Warner delivers a serviceable transfer for this underrated gem. Contrast is excellent, important given how dimly lit many scenes are. Black levels are strong and never waver while whites never get out of control. Certain scenes carry a dream like quality, so it should be noted that the overall softness this transfer carries is part of the source.
Detail is rather flat and unassuming, easily the flaw that knocks this one down a few notches. Color pops and flesh tones are accurate, but this MPEG-2 encode doesn’t deliver like the best discs can. For a first gen release (one of the first Blu-rays from Warner), it’s still better than expected. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
Far too common, Warner drops hi-def audio for a standard Dolby Digital mix. That said, it’s still a powerful mix, including some hefty bass. Action scenes deliver in terms of surround use, with cars and gunfire entering every channel at some point. Non-action scenes offer some mild stereo channel separation, and light ambiance inside clubs. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
A commentary with Downey, Kilmer, and writer/director Shane Black is loads of fun, as is a brief outtake reel that offers the final extra. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]