|Kids on bikes in the 70's were freakin weird in, The Nice Guys|
Do you remember that guy who was the first to die on Schwarzenegger's team in Predator? You know, the guy with a girlfriend who's you-know-what was as big as a house? Well, the character's name was Hawkins, and the actor's name is Shane Black. Aside from acting, this guy has written some of the most popular action films from the 80's and 90's.
Films like The Monster Squad, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and of course Lethal Weapon. For some possible childhood psychological reason, most of his films are set around Christmas time. His first two directions prove just that (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3). I wonder if his new Predator film will be also?
Black's latest film The Nice Guys, is another in his collection that has lively dialogue and quirky characters. The look of 1977 Los Angeles is spot on (I think), and the costumes & cars follow suit. This buddy mystery knows mostly when to be funny, and when to be serious. At times though, it seems like some of the serious moments stop the film dead in its tracks. The first half of the film is great. The humor is playfully mixed into every scene, the action is attention-grabbing, and the story glides from one part to another with ease.
Then the second half comes around and shows how incomplete this film is. Besides the tired shoot out at the finale, the scenes don't cut into each other as well, and there's something missing from the story and its characters. If I had to make a guess, I would say that some scenes were cut down and/or eliminated for time constraints. Well whoever's decision it was to do that, has made a grave error. This could and should have been even better.
The comedic chemistry of Russell Crowe (The Insider) and Ryan Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love), keeps The Nice Guys interesting. Crowe's role is secretive and leaves you wondering who the hell this guy is by the end. And Gosling's "in over his head" character is so bumbling, that it's hilarious.
You can tell that everyone involved is having a good time making this. Gosling's screen daughter played by Angourie Rice (These Final Hours), commands over her costars (especially her childish father). Other actors like Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential), Matt Bomer (White Collar), Keith David (They Live), Lois Smith (Minority Report), and Hannibal Buress (Neighbors), are more hit than miss.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of The Nice Guys
The Good- Gosling's falling rule of three, the pollution protest, the porn party, the bumblebee black out, and the kid on the bike.
The Bad- What happened to Gosling's wife? Why doesn't Crowe drink until the end? What the hell is going on?!
The Ugly- Seeing and hearing arms getting broken, still gives me chills.
The Nice Guys has charm, funny moments, and plenty of things going for it. But a weak back half and un-fleshed out characters, keeps this film from being as memorable as it should be. Maybe a Director's cut will explain this film's mysteries? Either way, you better not mess up The Predator, Mr. Black.
Rating- 6.5 out of 10
The Nice Guys (2016)
R | 1h 56min | Action, Comedy, Crime | 20 May 2016 (USA)
A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.
Director: Shane Black
Writers: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice