The opening scene of Kill Me Again perfectly sets the stage for this easygoing neo-noir thriller. Engaging, cheeky, and violent, it transports you directly onto the scorching sands of the Nevada desert. You’ve got the usual stuff when it comes to this genre: femme fatale, troubled private detective, a maniac, and a whole lot of cash. However, the storytelling is a bit clunky along with variable pacing. It will take John Dahl several years to perfect his skills and come up with a masterpiece that is Red Rock West. Here, he was getting the hang of things and it shows. What’s also apparent is that we have a very talented writer and director doing what he loves most. You can feel this in both the characters and the story.
I think that both Val Kilmer and his then-wife Joanne Whalley were miscast. Rourke and Fiorentino or Scacchi would be perfect for these roles. This doesn’t mean that Val and Joanne didn’t do their best because they did. Michael Madsen stole the show here as the psychotic boyfriend who really looks like someone who might fuck you up just for the fun of it. Every time I saw him I knew things are going to get entertaining. However, at times they got too serious and graphic despite the easygoing tone up until those points. Still, the story is engaging enough and it will keep you watching.
Bang bang and just like that Vince killed a mafia bagman carrying a briefcase full of cash. He and his girlfriend Fay are now on the run and before you know it, they’re arguing about what to do next. At the same time, PI Jack Andrews is getting beaten up by a couple of enforcers after failing to pay his debt on time. Little does he know that soon a very sexy and lucrative opportunity is going to knock on his door.
If you’re a fan of noir movies, I’m sure you’re going to appreciate Kill Me Again. It might prompt you to check out some of the classics or venture further into more modern movies. Since it has this aloof and casual vibe about it, I recommend checking out Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid from 1982. This parody of the genre starring Steve Martin is hilarious and always worth a watch. Speaking of recommendations, you can also take a look at a similarly-titled crime comedy Kill Me Three Times, one-upping this movie. I can’t wait for the fourth and fifth times movies.
Director: John Dahl
Writers: John Dahl, David W. Warfield
Cast: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Michael Madsen, Jon Gries, Michael Sharrett, Bibi Besch
Fun Facts: In the yellow pages, the address of the PI is on Dahl Ave. – a joke by the art department to the director, before they knew the address would be visible on-screen.