There are so few good comedic action films left in the world. These days, that's left up to the British, who do a caper like no one else. But what of the buddy cop movie? America used to have the goods on action. Now we've got very little to do with the genre, as the Asians and even the French show us up.
Shane Black is a man best known for the way in which he helped pioneer the buddy cop concept. He is the man and the mind behind the Lethal Weapon series, Last Action Hero, The Last Boy Scout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. In the many years since those films and his heyday of being the highest-paid writer in showbusiness, he's been in hiding, seemingly waiting to come back. This movie is that comeback and it puts the amusing but hollowly macho stylings of those early movies into harsh contrast.
This movie resets the comedic crime movie with a new blend of witty dialogue, twists and turns of plot, and excellent characters pulled off by excellent actors.
Robert Downey, Jr. is Harry, a down-on-his-luck criminal who accidentally wanders into a New York casting session, landing the role of a private eye. Shipped out to Hollywood and out of his element, he is handed over to Val Kilmer, as Gay Perry, a cynical (and homosexual) private detective who is to give Harry some idea as to the inner-working of the profession he'll portray.
In the midst of the story, there are dead bodies, dastardly schemes, lost fingers, hired killers, beautiful women, near-deaths, fully-realized-deaths, and a neverending torrent of self-aware, fourth-wall-breaking comedy.
In the throes of the caper, Downey and Kilmer deliver two of their best performances, Black shows off how great his writing really is while adding a director's title to his resume, and the audience gets to see a crime comedy that puts America back on the map and makes us think "Guy who?"
Fuck the nay-sayers. This is one of the movies of the year, the delights of my collection, and a joy to witness again and again.