HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Nice Guys
HTS Overall Score:79
“The Nice Guys” is actually only director Shane Black’s third feature film under his belt. At least under the director’s mantle. The man is most famous for his writing abilities and the plethora of fun 80s and 90s action films he wrote, including the entire “Lethal Weapon” series, “The Last Action Hero”, “The Last Boy Scout”, “Monster Squad”, etc, etc. He started his directorial career with the highly under rated film “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”, which featured a quirky pairing up of two different guys trying a thief and a private eye to solve a big murder mystery. Then of course we got the horrible mishap that was “Iron Man 3”, and now the man is back once again. This time pairing up a DUO of private eyes, trying to solve a missing person’s case that revolves around a dead adult actress in the 70s.
1977 wasn’t just the year for the best movie in the world (“Star Wars: A New Hope”), but also a time of socio political strife, as well as the advent of the adult film industry. Private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a bit down on his luck due to the newly acquired state law of no fault divorces taking much of his client base away. However, he’s still got a few aces up his sleeve and is working on a missing person’s case. A sweet little old lady (played by actress Lois Smith) has hired him to track down her missing niece. The only thing is that her niece is an adult film star by the name of Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio), and was found dead in a horrific car accident just a few weeks ago. Desperate for the money, March tracks down the supposed girl, only to find out that there WAS a girl spotted who looked like Misty. A young girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). At the same time washed up old PI Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) has been hired by Amelia to get rid of this thug following her. Only thing is that this “thug” is March. After getting almost killed by two gangster asking about his client (David Keith in a pimped out 70s suit and Beau Knapp), Jackson decides to join forces with March and hunt down Amelia and find out why everyone who ends up encountering her ends up dead.
The two men form your basic buddy cop type of film, but instead of a love/hate relationship, it’s more of a loathe/fear one. March is a decent enough guy, but he’s struggling in the business with a teenaged daughter named Holly (Angourie Rice). Nothing seems to be going his way and even his own daughter things he’s a sleazebag. March applies to the “hands off” philosophy of gumshoeing, and gets a bit queasy at the sight of blood (especially his own). Jackson, on the other hand, is a guy who’s had an affair with the bottle more times than he can count and really only can keep a relationship with his pet fish. He takes up the “tough guy” part of the duo, as he is more than willing to crack a few eggs to make an omelet. And by crack a few eggs I mean he loves to beat the living daylights of out anyone who will pay him enough money.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77450[/img]“The Nice Guys” has been a film that Shane Black wanted to make for years, but sadly it was sidelined due to not having that much “cred” in the director’s chair. However, with the success of “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” and making almost a Billion dollars for Marvel in the form of “Iron Man 3” (I still have nightmares about that movie), he finally has the opportunity to make his baby. While “The Nice Guys” is not AS good as “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”, it still is a hoot and half to watch, thanks to a tightly directed action film that features Shane Black’s trademark dialog and explosive action sequences. While Crowe and Gosling are not Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, they work together quite nicely, and create a strangely opposed pair of “forced to work together” bozos. One thing that really caught my attention was the flipping of characters by the end of the film. Early on it’s pretty obvious that March is a bit down and out, but he’s a fairly nice guy. He tries to take care of his daughter. Work as much as he can, but he can’t seem to catch a break. Jackson Healy is the thug, beating up people for a living and doing whatever it takes to get a quick buck. HOWEVER, around the 2nd act of the film you start to see the inner workings of each character. March is a hard drinker, and while there is some hysterical sequences at the party where he gets sloshed, it becomes clear that he is a cynic and a slightly pathetic boozer. Healy is a hard man, but there is a kindness under that harsh veneer, one that really opens up as Holly gets her hooks into the tough PI.
As much fun as it is, I can’t help but compare the film to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. The similarities are almost too much. We have too opposite characters forced to work together to solve the crime, and both films rely heavily on situational and highly physical humor followed up with tons and tons of quips. Crowe and Gosling really mesh well together, although Crowe looks like he has lost a little bit of “oomph” in his acting (while gaining quite a bit of weight), leaving him sometimes feeling a bit bland. The same can be said for the nearly two hour runtime. There’s plenty of great gags, good action sequences and hysterical comradery, but the movie drags on about 20 minutes too long, making the last act feel just a bit bloated and over stretched.
Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77458[/img]“The Nice Guys” comes to Blu-ray with a VERY nice looking 2.39:1 AVC encoded scope image and there is very little bad I can say about the transfer. Colors are warm, sometimes overly warm to imitate the orange and purple and maroon look of the 70s (and I have to say that if I never see some of those horrible wallpaper patterns again I will be MORE than happy). Skin tones look natural, although there is a slightly red push to the film and they take on a bit of a ruddy look at times. Blacks are deep and inky, especially in the end scene with the gunfight at the auto show, but there are moments where banding pokes its head into the mix. Nothing stands out as particularly negative about the encode, but I do notice that the fine detail sometimes is given a soft sheen to the filming style, and while there is PLENTY of intimate details replicated on the screen, that glossy 70’s inspired softness keeps it from being reference quality.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77466[/img]While the video encode may not be 100% reference, the audio score is pretty stinking close to it. The track starts out simple enough, with a decidedly front heavy experience, as Jackson and March get their back stories filled in, but once the two gangster break into Jackson’s apartment the track really starts to shine. Gunshots are accompanied with a resounding LFE presence and the surrounds fill in the track with plenty of ambient noises and explosive action. Bullets wiz over the shoulders, and the sound of a door softly clicking in the background is distinctly heard. A high rolling party adds some bombasticness to the track and draws the listener in to the pulsating music and throbbing bass. Dialog is always crisp and clearly locked up in the center channel, and the dynamic range is surprisingly wide as the film can go from a whisper quiet discussion to gunshots blasting through a suburban home.
• Always Bet on Black
• Worst. Detectives. Ever. Making The Nice Guys
“The Nice Guys” has it all. There’s quips, there’s femme fatales, there’s hitmen trying to kill people left and right, along with heroines that come in all shapes and sizes (as well as ages). Gosling and Crowe work REALLY well together and you can tell the love and energy that director/writer Shane Black put into it. Sometimes it drags out a bit too far, but the quirky detective film is a blast to watch and a movie that had me hooked within the first 15 minutes. Audio and video look and sound great for a new release, although the extras are sadly a bit lacking. Definitely worth taking a watch, especially if you enjoyed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”.
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice
Directed by: Shane Black
Written by: Shane Black, Anthongy Bagarozzi
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, English DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 116 minutes
Own The Nice Guys on Blu-ray or DVD on August 23 or Own It Early on Digital HD on August 9!
Buy The Nice Guys On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Give It A Watch
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