Shane Black is a guy who never gets the respect he deserves in Hollywood. Let’s take a quick look at the contributions this guy has made to movies. He created Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh when he wrote Lethal Weapon and defined the buddy cop action genre. He created a cult classic with The Monster Squad. He was ahead of his time when he wrote The Last Action Hero (say what you want, I think it is brilliant). He debuted as a director with the fantastic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which he also wrote and which revitalized the career of Robert Downey Jr. He directed one of the most successful Iron Man films, Iron Man 3. And on top of all that he was freakin Hawkins in the original Predator. This dude is an essential part of action movie history. And next he will be reinventing the Predator franchise with The Predator in 2018. But before that he went down the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang route again, this time with a 70s setting and another inspired pairing in his lead casting. The film is The Nice Guys, out now on Blu-ray and DVD.
Los Angeles, 1977. Single father and private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is hired to investigate the apparent suicide on a famous porn star. When the trail leads to a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) as well as a brutish tough named Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) who is also on the case, they must work together to take on goons, strippers and the government to find out who is behind the death and all the possible conspiracy behind it.
The Nice Guys, much like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, is all kinds of fun filled with tons of Black’s trademark fast paced and quirky dialogue. And the pairing of Gosling and Crowe is absolutely genius. The two play off each other so well, with Gosling being the not-too-bright younger PI and Crowe being the more experienced one with a knack for violence. Even their trailers and marketing short films together were fantastic. The laughs are plentiful, the action as well, and the story is actually well structured and keeps the viewer interested and intrigued throughout. It is a damn shame that Black’s directing efforts are always years apart, this guy should be working much more frequently. Hopefully the Predator reboot will be a big hit and get his stuff on the screen more often. The Nice Guys is very highly recommended.