Between the really rather good Iron Man 3 (2013) and the truly awful Predator (2018) Shane Black directed The Nice Guys (2016). The Nice Guys hearkens back to the buddy comedies of a bygone era while adding something extra courtesy of a knowing script and the irresistible chemistry of its leads.
A companion piece to Black’s 2005 picture Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the story concerns porno movies and automobile industry graft in late 70s LA, with our two leads, Ryan Gosling’s chiseling PI Holland March and Russell Crowe’s professional leg-breaker Jackson Healy drawn into the nefarious goings-on.
Like KKBB, the movie drew inspiration from a pulp novel by Brett Halliday (1905-77) a prolific mystery and western writer who has accrued a cult following.
Unfortunately, The Nice Guys is just not as funny as it thinks it is, and comparatively the Gosling/Crowe combination are really no match for Kiss Kiss‘s Downey/Kilmer pairing. But on second viewing recently, I greatly enjoyed the 70s vibe, crazy outbursts of violence and (some of) Black’s dialogue.
The supporting cast features some familiar and up and coming talent, including Kim Basinger, Matt Boomer, Keith David and Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).
Oh and Gil Gerard, who older readers may remember in the title role from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81):
The movie turned a small profit, but a sequel doesn’t look likely, which is a shame, as it could’ve actually improved on the first installment.