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Cinema Egzotik: A Shane Black X-mas

Plenty of action, measured violence and snappy one-liners: it’s the recipe that made screenwriter Shane Black famous in Hollywood. The man behind Lethal Weapon also likes to take the director’s seat, witness the blackly comic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which has Val Kilmer reluctantly teaming up with Robert Downey Jr. A reindeer-friendly, hand-knitted white Christmas with Egzotik? Not if it’s down to Shane Black!  

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Egzotik programmer Martin Koolhoven explains: “Legend has it that director John McTiernan asked Shane Black to rewrite the script of Predator. Allegedly it was the reason why Black”s acting debut in Predator lasted all of seven minutes. Black”s character Hawkins was the first to go, leaving Black with his hands free to work on the script. Never check a good story. Fact is that Shane Black rose to become one of the leading screenwriters of Hollywood, after which he was given a go at directing. The Christmas season is the perfect month to celebrate his talents, as Black featured the best time of the year in a number of his films. Two of them are in tonight”s programme, both of them outstanding examples of his ability to mix humour, action and tough guys.”

Lethal Weapon (Richard Donner, US, 1987, 110”)

This classic among action films hardly needs an introduction. Suicidal detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) is told to go bust the gang of a heavily armed drugs baron with a new partner who”s on the brink of retirement (Danny Glover as Robert Murtaugh). The two are an unlikely pair, to put it mildly. Murtaugh: “I”m too old for this shit!”+ Kiss Kiss *(Bang Bang Shane Black, US, 2005, 103”)

That Black”s ambition went beyond delivering successful screenplays is obvious from his directing debut. In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang petty criminal Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself the partner of an aging gay police officer (Val Kilmer) via an unparalleled twist in the storyline. A great spoof of Hollywood”s hip and happening scene and the crime genre. Shane Black on his profession: “Dialogue can be fun but most people don't study it.”

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