FLICKS. RIFFS. AND OTHER BITS.

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Review: THE NICE GUYS

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In the best tradition of buddy action films such as Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout, the latest film “The Nice Guys” continues this genre of movies with two of todays’ heavyweight actors – Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

Directed by Shane Black  (who wrote the screenplay for Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout, and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man3) he’s in familiar territory here and right in his element – playing in the pocket with his trademark black humour, sleazy wit & violent slapstick.

Contrary to the movie title, these guys are definitely not ‘nice’ .

Russell Crowe is Jackson Healy – a weary gumshoe thug-for-hire, and gets involved with a missing person and a misunderstanding with drunk loser and private investigator Holland March (cool name) played by Ryan Gosling.

Even though Crowe and Gosling are great playing together, it’s Gosling who steals the film, combining his straight smooth-talking with loopy physical comedy (that toilet seat scene is hilarious).

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Set in the seedy side of Los Angeles in 1977 – it has a feeling of a great 70s LA crime noir. Only it’s turned on its head by the two leads – who fumble, mumble and bumble their way to solve a crime which includes a dead porn star, a missing daughter, garish 70s- looking paisley shirts and one ruthless assassin. But hell, it’s bloody fun to watch.

Also fun to hear was the music. Starting with the opening credit sequence set to the superfly smooth ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ by the Temptations,  through to the party-time track ‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire,  and ‘Horse With No Name’ by America. Even ‘Rock n Roll All Nite’ by KISS gets some play-time from the bench in the middle of the film.

It’s been getting positive reviews overseas – while kiwi film critics have somewhat slated it (Mr Russell Baille from the Herald can you please stand up).

Despite some patchy moments and a subdued ending, overall the film plays out like the classic 70s disco songs that are the soundtrack of the film. All loose and funky – and that was totally cool with me.

It would be great to see a sequel to this film, maybe set it up years later in the 80s. If only just to see the Crowe and Gosling let loose on the streets of L.A again. Wearing stonewash jeans with a music soundtrack with Van Halen & Michael Jackson perhaps?

Now that would be nice.

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This entry was posted on May 28, 2016 by .
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