The Film (5/5)
The world needs more Shane Black films in it. Shane Black has made an indelible impact in the world of action cinema since his arrival on the scene in the mid-80's with the first 2 Lethal Weapon films and the Last Boy Scout. It's hard to imagine any one figure having a greater impact on modern (American style) action films then Mr. Black, and as such it's downright mind-bogging why we are now only sitting down with his third theatrical feature film. His prior 2 films were the Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer starring Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and the Marvel superhero entry Iron Man 3.
Black's latest film is Nice Guys a 70's period piece that dwells in the noir-ish settings that Black has made himself known for. The film is also an excellent comedy, and maybe one of the year's funniest films. Nice Guys stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as Holland March and Jackson Healy. March is a private detective assigned to find the recently deceased pornstar grandchild of an elderly woman, while Healy plays an independent enforcer paid by a former associate of the deceased starlet to keep him away. The two eventually realize after a few situations bring them together, that there is more to their situation and begin to work together to get to the bottom of what is proving to be a more complex mystery.
The Nice Guys is one of the most sheer FUN films I have seen this year. The film is set in 1970's L.A., and almost has a Chinatown-ish vibe at times. That is balanced out by Black's comedic tone. The overall look of the film looks less like L.A. in the 70's done retro proper, and more like L.A. in the 70's done through the eyes of someone in 2016, but that actually adds a certain camp element to the film. Black's writing is sharp here, as could be expected. There are a number of interesting plot twist throughout the film. Black creates a solid pacing with the material, which never is boring.
What really helps make the film are it's performances. Across the board it feels like everyone from the biggest characters to the smallest are bringing their best to the film. Ryan Gosling who has become known less for humorous roles in recent years is maybe at his funniest as Holland March, everything about how he plays the this part from his movements down to his comic timing make March one of the best roles I've seen Gosling in. Crowe is not an actor I've ever been too fond of, but in this film he really brings his all, and is hysterical and occasionally brutal in equal measure. However, special mention needs to be made to young actress Angourie Rice who plays March's young daughter Holly. Rice manages to blend serious character moments with the scripts more humorous tone to create something very special.
Warner Brothers presents The Nice Guys in a splendid 16x9 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the film's OAR. The Blu-ray looks quite good with excellent fine detail, accurate color reproduction and flesh tones. Black levels are solid and deep, and across the board the whole transfer is impressive.
Audio chores are handled by a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English. The track is quite solid as well with dialogue, score, and ambient effects coming through nicely. I did not detect any issues throughout the presentation.
There are 2 features on the Blu-ray one where the cast and crew discuss director Shane Black, and a Making of called Worst. Detectives. Ever.
The Nice Guys is an excellent blend of comedy and action from director/screenwriter Shane Black. The Blu-ray from Warner Brothers looks and sounds spectacular. It also includes a few minor extras. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.