One of the best parts about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was that it moved Shane Black from being a damn good screenwriter of the films we loved ten to twenty years ago to being an honest to goodness auteur. Undeniably, Black was part of the voice that made films like Leathal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout enjoyable – and shaped many of the worst action films of the 80’s and 90’s – but Black himself would tell you that most of his films were altered by their respective auteurs (and on bad days he might tell you they were shit).
Now, it seems, the shoe is on the other foot as Shane Black has just signed on to direct Cold Warrrior for Universal, which comes from a script by Chuck Mondry, who himself won in the Spec lottery in 2000 when a script he wrote with Cold Warrior producer Anthony Bagarozzi sold for a cool mil. The plot is about a Cold war spy defrosted to team up with a younger agent to deal with a terrorist threat that originated in Russia.
So the student has become the teacher here, and from what Jeremy said over at AICN, Mondry’s writing partner Bagarozzi wrote with Black before, so this whole project sounds like Black’s move away from his holiness Joel Silver won’t be too painful. And with Cold Warrior we’ll get a chance to see if Black truly is an auteur (though I’m sure he’ll give the project a polish all his own). This barest of boned plot description doesn’t amount to much, and sounds all too familiar, but with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it’s fair to say revitalizing the familiar is something that Black does obscenely well.