Sunday, October 30, 2005

BETTER THAN THE LAST BOY SCOUT: If someone asked me to explain the plot of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, I probably couldn't, at least not without making it sound like exactly the type of generic action movie it sends up. Suffice it to say that it involves a small-time thief who inadvertently walks into a screen test (Robert Downey, Jr.), the PI retained to give the thief "detective lessons" (Val Kilmer), and a young actress (Michelle Monaghan) who get entwined in an increasingly ridiculous series of crosses, double-crosses, and conspiracies. The secret is that it plays like a big thriller having been given a full rewrite by Charlie Kaufman, with Downey narrating, rewinding, and reversing himself to "fix" and "explain" the story. Sure, it's ludicrous, but intentionally and self-awarely so, unlike truly awful action flicks I've seen (XXX: State of the Union, we need to talk). If you enjoy action flicks, this one's well worth your time--Shane Black, who pretty much created the contemporary buddy action comedy with Lethal Weapon, has interestingly turned the genre pretty much inside-out, to great effect. Check it out.

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