I’m celebrating Fistmas this year instead of regular Christmas. For me Fistmas is just me watching action movies during Christmas Day. I decided to go with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang because it’s a movie set during Christmas, which is the baseline for a Christmas movie to me. It’s the second movie of my Fistmas movie marathon. I had forgotten how fun this movie was. I also forgot that it was loosely based on a novel.
Shane Black really knocked it out of the park with his directorial debut. He took the traditional elements of hardboiled detective stories and turned them on their head. What we got ended up being a neo-noir action comedy set during Christmastime that is so much fun. It also fits in alongside a lot of other movies that Black has written because of when it was set.
The central three actors of this movie have amazing chemistry. Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan have the best chemistry and make the movie as great as it is. RDJ plays the exact opposite of the character he would begin playing a few years later, which is a bumbling idiot, and he plays the part perfectly. Val Kilmer plays the best counterpoint to RDJ’s character. Michelle Monaghan rounds out the trio and is just as funny as the other two. Corbin Bernsen, Dash Mihok, Shannyn Sossamon, and Rockmond Dunbar round out some of the major players in the cast. This is probably the most sinister role I’ve seen Corbin Bernsen in since The Dentist movies.
The stunt team did a great job with the crazier things that happen in the movie. The effects are great with their simplicity. The costume design does a great job of making it feel right with some of the characters looking like they were plucked out of a hardboiled detective story while others look like they fit right in when its set. I feel like the set designer got the LA Christmas just right, since I’ve never been, and when it changes where it takes place it feels different. The music from John Ottman makes the movie feel just right.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a movie that doesn’t get as much love in the nontraditional Christmas movie discourse. I feel like I’ve said everything that I want to about this movie. There’s just so much about this movie that I love and can’t even properly say without feeling like I’ll end up rambling about it. This isn’t an easy movie to stream unless you rent or buy it since its mostly streaming on Showtime. I give Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 9 tiny revolvers out of 10.