Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2…AKA ‘The Nice Guys’ stars Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe as ‘Holland March’ and ‘Jackson Healy’. These two ‘sort of’ private detectives are tasked with investigating the suspicious circumstances of the death of adult film star, ‘Misty Mountains’ (Murielle Telio) and it’s connections with the disappearance of ‘Amelia Kuttner’ (Margaret Qualley).
Shane Black has gained somewhat of a reputation of delivering funny, smart buddy cop action. Thankfully, ‘The Nice Guys’ is no different.
The stars of the show are of course Gosling and Crowe, who work seamlessly together. Crowe’s noble tough guy Healy clashes superbly with the more relaxed, more selfishly driven March. The two go back and forth throughout and compliment each other brilliantly. Another notable performance was that of Angourie Rice who plays Gosling’s daughter ‘Holly’ and perhaps delivers some of the most memorable moments of the entire film. All of these characters feel authentic and are brought to life in such a way that it couldn’t help but feel like we were watching real people.
Another real credit of ‘The Nice Guys’ was the incredibly beautiful realization of 1970’s Los Angeles. The cars, the clothes, the scenery, everything just worked so well to almost build a character out of the city itself. It’s so refreshing to see a setting or a period in time captured so perfectly on screen and explored so effortlessly. For the just under two hours of run time you ARE in Los Angeles in 1977, and we can’t give the film a bigger compliment than that.
One small reservation was that the plot did feel a bit by the numbers: There is mystery, good people are trying to find thing/person, bad people are also trying to find thing/person. It’s not a new concept. But when it’s done this well there can’t be room for many complaints. There are enough tweaks on little things that have been done before to make the film feel fresh. Case in point, there’s a shoot up scene near the end of the second act, Russell Crowe’s Healy is pinned down inside a house. He calls to Gosling’s March to throw him the gun. March does and the gun sails out the window completely missing it’s intended target. Little things that don’t play out exactly as you would think make ‘The Nice Guys’ feel like a fresh take on an old concept.
Shane Black has proven with ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ that he is at home with buddy cop action and ‘The Nice Guys’ is no different.
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