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Blu-ray Review: The Nice Guys – “A flighty and fighty, zippy bit of wit”

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Released on DVD, Blu-Ray and all digital platforms on the 26th of September, The Nice Guys is written and directed by Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), and stars Russell Crowe (L.A. Confidential) and Ryan Gosling (Drive).

The Nice Guys is a detective story both subverted and heightened by the master of modern L.A.-at-Christmas-time-action-noir: Shane Black. Jackson Healy (Crowe) is an enforcer who breaks people’s arms for a living. Holland March (Gosling) is an alcoholic private detective loser with occasional flashes of brilliance. When their cases cross the pair find themselves teaming up to find a missing girl in a 1977 Los Angeles exploding with disco, porn, big collars and high-level corruption.

The writing is razor sharp and augmented by a wonderful instinctive alchemy between its leads Crowe and Gosling. The pair both showcase highly impressive physical comedy skills, as well as snappy firing off of Black’s trademark dialogue, and are aided by some memorable side characters such as a hyper creepy Matt Bomer villain, and a kid on a Chopper who will show you his chopper for $20. There are also some very strong fight scenes, but the action begins to feel stuck on by the final third – following a bit of a second act sag of self-indulgence that could have been fixed in the edit.

The picture on the Blu-Ray is perfect with all the vivid colours captured, and the black in the frequent night time scenes remaining uncrushed and retaining plenty of detail. I watched the film with the DTS-HD Master Audio track, and it was big and loud, with action scenes triggering a huge amount of pleasing wallop from the sub woofer and the rears. There is also an uncompressed stereo audio track, and hard-of-hearing subtitles. The disc’s menus are a basic control bar over a montage, with no cool transitions or imagination.

In terms of extras, “Always Bet on Black” is a short piece that zeroes in on the talents of Shane Black and the possibility of a Nice Guys sequel; “Worst Detectives Ever” is a six-minute making of featuring plenty of chat from über producer Joel Silver; the theatrical trailer is the theatrical trailer; the alternative theatrical trailer focusses more on the film’s off-beat aspects and the smaller scenes; and there are also eleven minutes of interesting interviews featuring Crowe, Gosling and even Kim Basinger talking about their roles, and what it was like to work with each other and Shane Black. A photo gallery that could have – and usually is – a very dry extra is spruced up a bit by being shown on a seventies TV with some funny cheesy music in the background.

It’s no Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but The Nice Guys is a flighty and fighty, zippy bit of wit that sees Shane Black easily do what he does best with a cast clearly keen and thrilled to take part.

3.5-out-of-5

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