Revisiting this movie with all the bonus features confirmed again why this was one of the best films of last year.
Not enough extras.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the kind of film that should have been a lot bigger than it was. Made for $15 million this movie took in $13 million worldwide ($4.5 of which it garnered in the US). Sadly, I think too many people saw this movie as an art film when it was simply an amalgamation of action movies, film noirs, buddy comedies and whatever else director Shane Black felt like throwing into the pot. Financially, it is probably seen as a respectable failure but cinematically it is an awesome thrillride featuring great performances by everyone in this cast.
The story is and isn't simple. Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart, a man who is on the run, ends up in an audition and finds himself taken to Hollywood. Here he is mentored for his role by Val Kilmer and reacquainted with the love of his life (Michelle Monaghan). What follows is anything but the classic crime caper, which Shane Black reinvigorates much in the same way that Wes Craven refueled the horror genre with the Scream films.
An amusing commentary with Shane Black, Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr.. When you get people of this kind of wit and smarts in a room together it can go one of two ways. Either they all try and outdo each other in the comedy department, or they offer keen insights mixed with jokes about the movie and themselves. From discussing whether or not Michelle Monaghan will still talk to them now that she did Mission: Impossible III, dropping names, or Shane Black's brutal honesty, I think the answer is the latter.
This is a mix of singing, talking about the gag reel (which is perfectly suited for the kind of self reflexive movie that this is) and messing up lines. I was looking forward to this simply because I really enjoyed the commentary and the movie. It was nice to be excited about a Special Feature and have it not disappoint.
Widescreen Version. Presented in a "Letterbox" widescreen format preserving the "scope" aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for Widescreen TVs. This movie was moody and darkly shot but none of that had an impact on how this DVD looked. Also, Shane Black seems to have just placed the camera in the room and let the scenes unfold. As a result, the story of this movie is interesting and so is the way it was told.
Dolby Digital. English and French Dolby Surround 5.1. Spanish - Dolby Surround Stereo. After watching the gag reel, I am led to believe that Black allowed the cast to experiment with his screenplay. How this plays into the audio is that it seems very real and organic, yet at the same time it has that slick noir style to it. Overall, I was impressed with how much the audio in the theater seemed like it was transferred over to this DVD.
For the front cover they have taken the image of Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer that were used as the one sheet for this movie's theatrical release, and they've added some pictures of Michelle Monaghan to spice things up. The back cover gives a description of what this movie is about and offers up some shots from the film in a collage-like fashion. There is a Special Features listing, a credits list and of course technical specs for your player.
Many films are very formulaic today. This isn't a knock on present day movies (a lot of which I think are good), it's just a fact. Filmmakers and actors talk about veering from the script and making their characters complex, but at the end of the day most movies stay on course so as to not disrupt the viewing experience too much. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was so refreshing because it never let you get too comfortable. It isn't like a John Cassavetes movie which seems like there was a classic plot and then in editing the filmmaker purposely jumbled it up. This movie isn't afraid to go back and forth, fast forward, give information and then take it away so that viewers almost forget they are watching a movie.
A truly great film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is going to find a whole new life and audience on DVD.
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was released September 5, 2005.