Everyone has their favorite action movie, and there has been one name over the last thirty years who has written some of the best. That name is Shane Black and he has a new film coming out called “The Nice Guys.” So what better time then to look back at the films that you know you love, or what we call the Shane Black essentials.
5. “The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996)
Since this was the follow-up the much maligned “Cutthroat Island” with Geena Davis in the lead and director Renny Harlin at the helm it didn’t get much love. But discovered by most on home video, this one had it all, strong, bad-ass female lead, funny sidekick (Sam Jackson), killer action, great dialogue with lead to some wicked humor from Shane Black’s script who at the time was the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood.
4. “The Last Boy Scout” (1991)
Doing what he does best, that being pairing up two reluctant partners and then making magic happen, this may be one of Black’s most under appreciated films. Starting Bruce Willis at the peak of his action hero status, and Damon Wayans. This is about a down and out detective and an ex quarterback who must solve a murder case involving corruption in pro-football. Everything that makes Black’s films so much fun is present and that is all you need to know.
3. “Last Action Hero” (1993)
If you are going to write an action movie in the eighties or nineties there were few actors you had to have. Like with “The Last Boy Scout”, Black got a star at his peak and turned him against his typical casting. This movie was ahead of its time, it was meta before ‘meta’ as it is an action movie that has fun with the nonsense that happens in action movies. Schwarzenegger is at the top of his game in this movie inside a movie, and if definitely worth a watch again.
2. “Lethal Weapon” (1987)
The buddy action movie that started at all and made Black a hot commodity. Showing you are never too old for the shit life throws at you, even if it’s a crazy new partner who lives life with a death wish. Danny Glover as the old school veteran and Mel Gibson as the trigger happy partner fit together like a hand and a glove and gives us a movie that will live for the ages.
1. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (2005)
This is the movie that reintroduces Robert Downey Jr. to us all and becomes an instant classic after one viewing. Not only is Downey magical, so is Kilmer, who plays a private eye that with the help of Downey must solve a murder mystery where very few things go right. This is one of those movies that after you see it all you want to do is share with everyone you know. Not only did this film give Downey new life in an Iron suit, it reminded everyone how good Shane Black is, which is why this is the essential Black movie.