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DVD Reviews


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted May 31 2006 - 08:48 AM


kiss kISS bAng banG

Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2005
Rated: R
Film Length: 103 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio: DD 5.1
Color/B&W: Color
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
Genre: Comedy/Mystery/Crime
MSRP: $27.95
Package: Single disc/Keepcase

The Feature:
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the directorial debut of Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black. He stylizes the film by employing a voice-over narrator which pokes fun at many film noir clichés (not surprising, after apparently spending much of his spare time reading Raymond Chandler novels). Although the tone is never more than semi-serious, we build a relationship with the characters as we come to enjoy their quirkiness. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes us on a different and somewhat off beat journey offering several laughs along the way. In typical noir fashion, the film is voice-over narrated by Robert Downey Jr.'s, Harry Lockhart character. Clearly his style makes it apparent he's talking to a movie audience in a tongue-in-cheek faashion. Occasionally, Hollywood uses offbeat narration, but this is flippant, in a welcoming and refreshing kind of way.

Harry is a two-bit thief who breaks into a casting call in an attempt to escape the police. Upon his arrival in Hollywood, he is teamed with a P.I. named "Gay Perry
Robert Downey brings the right mix of cynicism and confidence. Val Kilmer adds a a flair of arogance to his part as the enigmatic Gay Perry. Michelle Monaghan assumes the femme fatale role. The plot moves along at a rapid pace and periods of time go by without Harry's voice offering comments or observations. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang isn't necessarily an original piece of noir however the end result in an entertaining one.

The Feature: 4/5
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Presented in it's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer which is enhanced for widescreen is excellent. Colors are bright and vivid and the level of saturation is perfect. Blacks were deep while whites were contrasted nicely always showing clean and stark. Image detail was very impressive.

Film grain was all but non-existent however, there is a gorgeous level of dimensionality and texture present here - very nice indeed. The film is immaculate and basically free of any dirt or other annoying blemishes - no surprise there considering this is a recent release. Authoring seems to have been handled very well as compression errors were non-existent.

Video: 4/5
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The audio soundtrack is a DD 5.1 encoded track and it packs a nice little punch. Most importantly, dialogue was always bold and intelligible. The film is accompanied by some music here and there and the soundstage is satisfactorily wide. No more, no less. In terms of dynamics, there are a few action sequences which are handled well.

While the track is 5.1, the surrounds are limited to only a couple of scenes requiring filler and ambiance. LFE kicks in on a couple of occasions but nothing of great significance. The track is clean and free of any hiss or other noisy distractions and the overall fidelity of the track is natural.

Audio: 3.5/5
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Special Features:
Not much here in terms of special features but they do include:

  • A Commentary with Val Kilmer, Robert Downey Jr. and Shane Black. While not what I'd call the crème de la crème of commentaries, the trio banter back and forth while they discuss various scenes all the while not seeming to take life very seriously. On a personal note however, it's good to see Downey Jr. back on his game. He's a talented fella - let's hope he can keep everything on track.

  • Next up, a Gag Reel which includes a couple of funny scene as well as a few that aren't so funny. Duration: 4:18 minutes.

  • Last, but not least, the Theatrical Trailer closes out the special features and appears in perfect condition. Duration: 2:15 minutes.

    Special Features: 3/5
    Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**

    Final Thoughts:
    Robert Downey's star is once again rising in Hollywood. His latest vehicle is this quirky noirish comedy-thriller. Downey puts forth not only his comedic talents but his amazing acting ability shows through making this film a truly enjoyable watch and the chemistry between Kilmer and Downey is terrific. The movie is narrated (voiceover) by Downey from his character's point of view which adds to the quirkiness of the film. If you’re looking for a change of pace from the regular crime drama or predictable thriller, give this one a look.

    Aside from an interesting yet uncharacteristic popcorn flick, Warner has provided yet another near flawless transfer and added a couple of neat special features.

    Overall Rating: 4/5 (not an average)
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    Release Date: June 13th, 2006
    My Top 25 Noirs:

    25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

    #2 of 19 OFFLINE   Jefferson Morris

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    Posted May 31 2006 - 09:18 AM

    Thanks for the review. Not enough people saw this fresh, very entertaining film upon its release. The inclusion of a commentary more or less clinches a purchase for me. --Jefferson Morris
    "If fakes, they were masterpieces."

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    #3 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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    Posted May 31 2006 - 09:32 AM

    I enjoyed it in the theater, too. Offbeat compared to the usual mystery thrillers we get nowadays. The title sequence is very quirky and unusual, too. I liked it. Definitely one to be added to my collection.

    #4 of 19 OFFLINE   Christian Preischl

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    Posted May 31 2006 - 09:15 PM

    Wasn't there supposed to be a documentary called "Long Shadows Sharp Tongue: A Noir Documentary" on the DVD at one point? Odd.

    #5 of 19 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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    Posted June 01 2006 - 04:51 AM

    The Onion AV club has an interesting interview with Black that talks about how this picture got made. He dropped so far out of sight for a while that he had a lot of trouble getting studios to take him seriously when he reappeared. Nice review, Herb! I'll have to check this out.
    "How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

    #6 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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    Posted June 01 2006 - 05:42 AM

    This is a will-buy, I had one of the better viewing experiences at the theaters with this film because the whole audience was "getting" it, and LTMFAO.
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    #7 of 19 OFFLINE   cafink



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    Posted June 01 2006 - 05:49 AM



    #8 of 19 OFFLINE   Malcolm Cleugh

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    Posted June 02 2006 - 11:02 PM

    I was holding out for the R1 release as well because of the promised documentary, from the original details posted elsewhere it was supposed to be quite long and well produced rather than one of these making of fluff pieces you usually get. May well get the UK R2 here as after only a couple of months out is already in the bargain bin (saw it in one store for under USD10 this weekend). Is only a vanilla disk and we do miss the commentary though. I'm suprised Warner did this if they intend to double dip later. They have done that with Ocean's 12 here in the UK, although I dont think the 2 disk release we got sometime after the original has been released in R1.

    #9 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Leigh

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    Posted June 07 2006 - 12:25 PM

    This film is a must see for all fans of dirty shirt action movies like Die Hrd Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout. I walked out of the theater with a huge smile on my face.

    #10 of 19 OFFLINE   MattFini


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    Posted June 08 2006 - 03:07 AM

    I have been dying to see this since it played in theatres last October. It never came anywhere around me and waiting for this DVD release has felt like an eternity. I'll definitely be buying this ASAP!!!
    Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

    #11 of 19 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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    Posted June 08 2006 - 07:09 AM

    You know who wrote the latter two, right? Posted Image
    "How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

    #12 of 19 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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    Posted June 14 2006 - 02:18 AM

    Watched this last night. A VERY entertaining film. Glad to have Shane Black back. And I was surprised by Michelle Monaghan, I thought she was the weak link in the otherwise very good MI3, but is quite good here. Kilmer and Downey give two of their best performances in quite a while. And, the film has probably the funniest scene in any movie all last year (a scene in a hospital is all I'll say). I'd also highly recommend it.

    #13 of 19 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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    Posted June 14 2006 - 03:28 AM

    I concur. Posted Image

    Dave hören... auf, wille stoppen sie Dave... stoppen sie Dave... Mein gehirn geht... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin ängstlich Dave... Guter Nachmittag. Ich bin ein HAL 9000 computer. Ich wurde funktionsfähig am HAL-Betrieb in Urbana, Illinois auf January 12 1992.

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    #14 of 19 OFFLINE   Jordan_E



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    Posted June 14 2006 - 03:51 AM

    This movie was VERY entertaining! I usually don't like those "we're quirky and we know it" type of movies, but Shane really pulled it off here.
    And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

    #15 of 19 OFFLINE   Brett_M



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    Posted June 14 2006 - 11:32 PM

    What a fantastic little movie. Kilmer and Downey were hilarious and the script -- endlessly quotable. (My wife and I were doing lines 5 minutes after it ended.) SEE THIS NOW.
    Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

    #16 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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    Posted June 16 2006 - 03:16 AM

    EASILY one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time. The jokes worked well, occasionally the timing seemed like it came straight from a TV sitcom (this time that's a compliment.) For me the movie never had a slow spot. I can actually say I enjoyed every minute of the movie and THAT is extremely rare for me.

    #17 of 19 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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    Posted June 16 2006 - 05:03 PM

    BTW Warner is dropping this on a DVD/HD DVD dual disk next tuesday the 20th, will be one of the first 'new releases' I get on that format when its available. Thanks for the review, looking forward to it now! Sam

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    #18 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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    Posted June 17 2006 - 03:22 PM

    Great flick. Loved the chemistry between all of the cast, fantastic photography, and it features my favorite John Ottman score since 'The Usual Suspects'. I'd love to see a follow-up though I'm sure that it's doubtful to happen. Shand Black *really* needs to do more work. BTW, am I the only one disapponted the movie title didn't start with an "L"?

    #19 of 19 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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    Posted June 17 2006 - 05:18 PM

    Just watched this. Great film. EVeryone is great in it, and Downey is perfect. Lots of laugh outloud moments. Very glad I got this one.
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