The necessary tribute to Robert Downey Jr's best ever performance and film 3 months ago

The necessary tribute to Robert Downey Jr's best ever performance and film

He turns 53 today and one amazing film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, turned his career around.

At the present moment, Tony Downey Jr/Robert Stark - hell, aren't they basically the same person now? - is about to launch a charm offensive around the world as Avengers: Infinity War gets set to conquer the world in a box-office blitz that might even shock Thanos.

On that note, it has been 10 years since Jon Favreau kicked-off the MCU by introducing us to Iron Man and while playing a superhero has reignited his career, it's not the film that we're going to discuss to celebrate his roguish talent.

Hell, we're not even going to do a deep-dive on his Oscar-nominated performances as Charlie Chaplin or that time he spent on Tropic Thunder as "a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude." Yep, Kirk Lazarus is an Oscar-nominated character.

No, we're going to pay tribute to a film that - unbeknownst to Downey Jr - was pretty much his audition for the Iron Man role, the hilarious and endlessly quotable...Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Clip via - Movieclips Trailer Vault

The actor's personal problems have been well documented and while Kiss Kiss Bang Bang helped to kick-start his comeback and reestablish his reputation as an A-lister, the film also marked the return of another prodigal talent, Shane Black.

Advertisement

As film fans will know, Black was the screenwriter of Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight but prior to his directorial debut on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it had been seven years since he last wrote a script - 1998's Lethal Weapon 4.

Prior to working with Black, Downey Jr's previous films were Game 6, Eros, Gothika and The Singing Detective. Anyone see them? Na, we didn't think so. Both men needed a hit and boy did they deliver one.

If you've never seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang then you're in for a treat. Inspired by the pulp crime fiction of Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler, Downey Jr. plays a petty thief named Harry that's posing as an actor. After a botched robbery, Harry ends up in Los Angeles for the most unlikely audition of all time. Inbetween martinis and epic one-liners, Harry finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl (Michelle Monaghan) and a gay detective (Val Kilmer) who's been training him for his upcoming role.

Like most of Shane Black's scripts, the dialogue and the laughs absolutely whizz by and it's clear that both Kilmer and Downey Jr. are having an absolute blast in their roles. Truth be told, any film with lines like "Uh, I'm retired. I invented dice when I was a kid. How about you do?" is an absolute winner with us.

This scene at the bar is just effortlessly cool.

Clip via - quicksilvermad

Since being released in 2005, the film has rightfully earned cult-classic status and it's easy to see why. Downey Jr's kinetic energy, stumbling charm and sharp comedic mind helped Kiss Kiss Bang Bang find it's rightful audience. Truth be told, the film feels like one of those titles that you strongly urge all of you mates to see. In fact, it's so good that you might actually sit down with your pals and force them to watch it.

Three years since the film was released, Robert Downey Jr. was stepping into the Iron Man suit but if you haven't seen his finest ever performance, we urge you to track it down via whatever means possible.

These critics agree;

Wall Street Journal - "Robert Downey Jr. is the quickest, sharpest, slyest and wryest comic actor on the screen."

Denver Post - "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is crass and crude, and loves every minute of it."

AP - "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is as much fun as the title suggests, and packed with banter that rolls off the tongue just as easily."

Washington Post  - "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the first movie since 1994's Pulp Fiction not just to understand movie violence as a pop cultural form ... but to play it like a virtuoso violinist"

Newsday - "Hard-boiled dialogue and drop-dead attitude rarely hit their target as hilariously as they do in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang."