Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Last Boy Scout (1991)

(Image from Imp Awards)

The Last Boy Scout (1991)

From writer Shane Black (whose script for this sold for a then record breaking $1 million) and director Tony Scott comes 'The Last Boy Scout', an action extravaganza that's full of violence and cool, laconic dialogue. Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) is a washed up detective eking out a living for himself and his estranged wife and daughter. Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans) is a washed up former football player whose stripper girlfriend Cory (Halle Berry) is killed while under the protection of Hallenbeck. Even though they realize that Cory was involved in something big and therefore dangerous, Joe and Jimmy team up to bring her killers to justice and get caught up in a plot involving a powerful sports mogul and a corrupt politician who are protected by a variety of gun wielding hoodlums. Also along for the ride is Joe's pre-teen daughter Darian (Danielle Harris), whose sharp tongue attempts to provide some comic relief.

'The Last Boy Scout' is a fun if unremarkable action film. The story is fairly run of the mill with the sports angle being the unique element, but to be honest it doesn't really add too much to the story. The writing leans heavily towards the comedic, with the heroes having an ironic sense of detachment towards events; they walk around as if they know they're in an action movie. This leads to some hilarious lines and moments, but also virtually eliminates any sense of danger. Hallenback is in effect invincible, and Willis plays him with his trademark insouciant swagger. Wayans is surprisingly watchable and entertaining as the relatively serious sidekick. Danielle Harris is fairly irritating as the little girl, and her presence really hampers the last half of the film. The rest of the cast - ranging from an irate police chief to sneering thugs through to the big bad villains - are run of the mill.

The biggest surprise for me was how unspectacular the action sequences were - they too have the dsame etached air of the protagonists, with shootouts simply taking place with no tension or sense of danger. And some of the shootout scenes are simply poorly done, with the action becoming chaotic and incoherent.

I wouldn't really recommend this except for action movie buffs or movie completists like me. While it's fairly entertaining and reasonably well made, only its humorous script is above average. Worth a watch if there's nothing better on TV perhaps, but not worth tracking down.


CyberKitten said...

Its a wonderful film & infinitely quotable. I've lost count at the number of times I've seen it.

One of my fave films - "either that or a hell of a factory recall".

Antimatter said...

It's got a funny script, I will grant it that, and the characters are fun. I just don't think Tony Scott was the right man to direct. Shane Black directed his own script with 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', a film that I feel works much better than 'The Last Boy Scout'.

Jack Flippin said...

I love movies like this. Action movies with a lot of action, gunshots and killings, but still makes us laugh with weird and funny lines and things.
It's like, that even though it's an action thriller, there's still room and place for funny things, and I like that.
More movies like that, please.