Famed screenwriter, Shane Black made his directorial debut in 2005 with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Black’s film, based on Brett Halliday’s novel, Bodies Are Where You Find Them is a near flawless modern noir and the script sizzles with wit and one-liners. It’s a film which sits nicely beside other Christmas-set Black scripted efforts like Renny Harlin’s The Long Kiss Goodnight and Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon.
Stars Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer are pitch perfect as in the lead roles. The duo play a mismatched pair attempting to solve a murder. Kilmer was post-Batman, Downey was pre-Iron Man and they share great chemistry in this witty Christmas Noir. Michelle Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen co-star in the Joel Silver produced pic.
Budgeted at $15 million, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang grossed just $4 million at the US box office (and an additional $11 million elsewhere), hardly a hit to write home about, although that does have something to do with Warner Bros. releasing it on only 226 screens.
At the time of its release Downey Jr was climbing his way back up the career ladder – he still had The Shaggy Dog to come. Then Iron Man hit and he went on to become one the biggest stars in recent times. He re-teamed with Black on Iron Man 3 (the best in the franchise).
Val Kilmer recently overcame cancer, released an autobiography titled, I’m Your Huckleberry and the documentary Val, while he also has a supporting role in next year’s Top Gun: Maverick.
Although it wasn’t a financial success, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was critically acclaimed and it led to a major comeback for Shane Black. He would go on to direct the billion dollar grossing Iron Man 3 (2013) as well as The Nice Guys (2016) starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as well as The Predator (2018).