To someone like writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), something like The Nice Guys is a walk in the park. This is what Black has made his name doing: action, comedy movies, or perhaps what we have to call, in modern parlance, an action buddy movie. This time he pairs up Hollywood heavyweights Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.
The Nice Guys is a seventies buddy movie about a pretty useless private investigator, Gosling, and a man who gets paid to beat people up, Crowe. When their cases collide the pair, together with Gosling’s daughter Holly, played by Angourie Rice (Walking With Dinosaurs), pool resources to figure what’s actually going on.
Setting the movie in the late seventies is a masterstroke by Black. The disco beats pulse throughout, shockingly bright suits glare and Gosling chain smokes like a trooper. A shady dealings world of backhanders, killers called John Boy, the Detroit car industry, a missing pornstar and a porn film made by the daughter of the head of the department of justice ensure The Nice Guys have their work cut out.
The chemistry between Crowe and Gosling works well. Crowe is the macho man with a soft side whilst Gosling is the sometime brain, very often clumsy guy who seems to accidently figure things out. Whilst Holly is the actual brain who gets herself into trouble by being where she shouldn’t be, at the wrong time.
The action sequences are well directed by Black, the script zips along and will have you laughing out loud and performances are wonderful all round. The story isn’t the most original, nor is the way the buddies get together and it’s not like you’ll really be surprised about what happens next. But, that doesn’t matter. Black is a master in this genre and the film works. It’s fun, funny and has plenty of Lethal Weapon-esq action to keep any man happy.
I was reminded quite a bit of one of Black’s other films, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. Now I haven’t seen that film for a long time so maybe I’m just making a huge connection that isn’t there. But, even if it is there, it’s no bad thing. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was 11 years ago and a fantastic film too.
I get the feeling we’ll be seeing more of The Nice Guys, I’m hoping this is another Lethal Weapon style series of films. Here’s hoping!