Writer director Shane Black was a 1980s wunderkind who penned the script to Lethal Weapon when he was just 22 years old. He continued to script big action movies into the 90s before dropping out of the business, no doubt filled with self-loathing for having written Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight. The time away appears to have been a good idea as his script for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang contains all the trademarks that elevated his best work—sharp, funny dialogue, well drawn characters and crazy Pulp Fictionesque violence—with none of the bad—turgid pacing and stupid plots.
As a two-bit east coast burglar who finds himself in the middle of Hollywood life-and-death intrigue Robert Downey Jr is at his madcap best, while Val Kilmer as a private eye named Gay Parry whose cell phone ring tone is I Will Survive, is dangerous and funny. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has a plot hat may leave you scratching your head, but the black humor and the cool lead performances more than compensate.
Any movie that borrows its title from a book of film essays by legendary movie critic Pauline Kael better be good, and this one is.