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In the early 90's, there was a definite, consistent presence in action
movies: slow motion cinematography, wild gun-play, and funny
one-liners. Granted, there are still some of those today (2004), but it
just wasn't the same as back in the day. Now there are so many special
effects in the current action films that it drowns out what used to be
the great style of a "popcorn flick".
Die Hard paved the way for these type of movies, and some of the offspring of this did well and did not. The Last Boyscout was one that did well. This was a very intelligent and fun action/thriller/buddy-comedy that can still be enjoyed to this day. Tony Scott is the master of under-appreciated action movies in the 90's, such as this and True Romance.
My suggestion is to get a 6-pack, go rent this movie, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Although this film receives a lot of credit for reinvigorating the
action/buddy genre movie, the praise is too often misdirected. For
instance, whilst Bruce Willis gives a solid performance as low-life
eye Joe Hallenbeck, we have seen the act a dozen times. There are
of Die Hard's John McClane in every knowing smirk and pained cigarette
inhalation. Equally, Tony Scott's direction is still based on an
with placing bright lights behind the actors and turning up the volume of
car chases and gunshots. Jimmy Dix, the faded football hero, is given a
suitably comic persona by Damon Wayons and the action sequences are as
as you will find elsewhere in Hollywood. However, these are not the
attractions of the film for me.
You might think, from what is written above, that I disliked the film but you would be mistaken to think that as I believe it to be an absolute classic of its kind. I truly think The Last Boy Scout should be used as a teaching tool at film schools the world over. In spite of its glaring limitations it is a movie that has everything! The opening scene is a modern movie classic - up there with those of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Goodfellas. If there is a film-goer alive whose mouth didn't gape in wonderous amusement at the climax to the opening scene then I am amazed. The plot, as far fetched as it is, provides a perfect vehicle for the key elements that go towards making this the gem of a movie that it is.
First in the list of key elements is the wonderfully funny dialogue. Shane Black's hallmark of snappy one-liners is all over the sizzling repartee between the two heroes. Even Hallenbeck's daughter gets a couple of laugh-out-loud lines. Secondly, the story benefits from the ideal combination of: sport, gambling, violence, comedy, the odd topless dancer, important values of family and friendship, revenge and honour. Take out the topless dancer and they pretty much all feature in The Godfather!
The third crucial component for the success of The Last Boy Scout is the perfect casting of the bad guys. Milo, played to chilling perfection by Taylor Negron, is a bad guy with a difference. He isn't just a mindless hard man. His brilliantly annoying habit of calling people by their elongated names is a superb touch (Joe becomes Joseph, Jimmy becomes James and so on), as are his attempts at civility when trying to "do a formal introduction" with the kidnapped Hallenbeck. Other bad guys are fleshed out and distinguished by quirky traits or funny lines. They are not merely there to make the good guys look good.
Overall, this film is not a piece of celluloid art. It is, however, a perfect example of popcorn-friendly entertainment. It is the sort of movie you imagine the makers would like to see as movie-goers themselves. Without being utterly contemptible or mindlessly low-brow it entertains. An ideal Saturday night movie to watch with a group of friends.
The Last Boy Scout is without a doubt one of the greatest action movies
ever made. There is nothing a good action film needs that isn't woven
into Tony Scott's vision of Shane Black's screenplay. We have
shootouts.... lots and lots of shootouts. We have Bruce Willis. We have
football. We have some beautiful women at our disposal. There are some
fast cars. There are drugs. And the profanity-laden dialog is so
well-written that virtually the entire script can be read in the
memorable quotes section of this site.
Our story, though completely preposterous, has some real depth. We have multi-dimensional characters and we are taken on quite a ride with them as the action unfolds. Bruce Willis plays a burned out private investigator who helps a disgraced former pro football player solve the murder of his girlfriend. Before our story ends, we have a dirty US senator, a greedy football team owner, and about a hundred seedy henchmen thrown into the mix. Things move so quickly that only towards the end does one of our characters actually speak a line that sums up how ridiculous it all is. Damon Wayans, who plays the former football star gives Willis some sobering insight. He points out that Willis must be one of the dumbest people alive. He is not only trying to save the life of the man who ruined his career, but also trying to avenge the death of the man who was f*#king his wife! But somehow, we the audience care about the outcome, and getting there couldn't be more fun.
The film has dated fairly well up to this point. Being as though it came out in 1991, you can still see a high top fade on a black character or two. The football uniforms have changed a little, too, but these are minor things that take nothing away from the enjoyment of the story. Water is still wet, the sky is still blue, and this is still one hell of a movie...and then some!!! This film scores a perfect 10 of 10 stars. It couldn't have been made any better.
So sayeth the Hound.
The Last Boy Scout is loud, vulgar, trashy and great entertainment.
Bruce Willis plays Joe Hallenbeck, a disgruntled former Secret Service
agent struggling with personal demons, a dysfunctional home life and an
unsuccessful attempt at living as a private detective. When his newest
client, Cory (Halle Berry), is murdered, her boyfriend (Damon Wayans)
joins Hallenback to find out why she was killed. What follows is
typically Tony Scott accentuated action, male bonding and loads of
violent, gruesome deaths followed by outbursts of comic one-liners.
Written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) and directed by Scott (Top Gun), Last Boy Scout works thanks to Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans. The script is stupid, borderline ludicrous quickly stretching beyond believability, ending in an explosive (somewhat literally) climax that resorts to all the clichés of the genre. However, there is some self-satire to be found within the material. Villains are referred to consistently as "the bad guys." Loads of genre clichés are fooled with, spun into jokes the car chases and action sequences become satirical in nature, whilst the personal life of Hallenbeck something that might normally be sugar-coated in another genre film is totally f***ed up, leaving us with a pre-teen daughter who uses profanity like it's going out of style, a cheating wife, and a weary father who stopped giving a crap about it all a long time ago.
It's the stuff like this that makes Last Boy Scout succeed past its own sources. Shane Black is excellent at writing this type of stuff, and it really shows. Willis is given the best one-liners of his entire career, making Die Hard's crackling dialog look like child's play. Willis in particular is so good, and so at ease with his character, that his cynical and edgy performance makes the film worth seeing and heck, even worth owning. It's the ultimate Stupid Male Action Film with Great One-Liners and Loads of Action, a genre I'd like to hereby declare official.
It's been 14 years since Tony Scott's The Last Boyscout was released
and it was not a major hit at the box office.
Still, this guilty pleasure is one of funniest action movies ever made. The movie starts with the rocky (and cheesy) theme "Friday Night is A Great Night For Football" sung by Bill Medley. You can't top that way to begin a movie.
But then Scott surprises us again. the opening sequence, where a football player is going to use any way possible to score a touchdown, is breath taking too. Enter Joe Hallenback (Willis) and Jimmy Dix (Wayans) two fallen heroes. One, a detective, the other an ex pro of the Stallion's league. The mob is there too, gamble, money, bets, a murdered young girl and big explosions. All of this wrapped up in a great story, which I won't spoil. This film is one of Tarantino's favorites. It's full of one liners and classic scenes. Violent and graphic. "Touch me again and I kill you..." says Willis' character to one of the gangsters. You should see the result. Written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) you've got a guarantee you're going to have a great time. Taylor Negron is great as Milo, the villain, a young and beautiful Halle Berry is Kory a girl that knows too much, the sexy Chelsea Field is Hallenback's wife and Danielle Harris is her daughter a great characters that nearly steals the show.
This is not an "art" movie. It's pure entertainment, an excellent flick. Is anything better than that?
We watched this on an encore channel and given it's mediocre 2 star
rating and age of 14 years we didn't really expect much. First, we
aren't connoisseurs of the action flick and maybe it's too uneven to
please people who really dote on the genre. There are a couple of
places where the plot is advanced without much pretext other than the
need to cut to an exciting bit of action. And there are a couple of
action scenes that a good editor would simply have cut.
But Willis and Wayans give energetic and nicely tuned performances. Chelsea Field is just perfect in a limited role as the detective's wife. The villains are far better drawn than the usual bunch of lazy thugs. And Danielle Harris steals the show as Darian Hallenbeck, the feisty and foul-mouthed 13 year old daughter. She grows during the film with barely an effort by either writer or actor. A part written with great comic creativity. Really the best thing about a film that has a lot of imaginative lines and action moments.
And there are lots of places in this film where the writers give us lines that are head and shoulders above typical film dialog and way, way beyond the norm for most action movies. A quick guess would be that there were a dozen places where a good line turned up instead of the usual clichés.
Bruce Willis stars as Joe Hallenbeck, who was once a top of the line Secret Service agent but has since become an alcoholic, flea bag detective. While performing the chores of a two bit shamus, he discovers his wife Sarah (Chelsea Field) is having an affair with his best friend. Joe is hired to protect Cory (Halle Berry), a stripper who has been getting death threats; Joe begins to sober up when Cory is blow to smithereens. Cory's boyfriend, Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans), was at one time a NFL football quarterback, but was thrown out of the game for gambling and addiction to Demerol. Smelling something fishy, Joe and Jimmy begin to investigate further and discover layers of corruption in professional football circles, leading up to Sheldon Marcone (Noble Willingham), a corrupt team owner who wants to pay off legislators to legalize gambling on pro football games. The Last Boy Scout is one of the better action movies I have seen. Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans make a good team in this film.
Great movie excellently interpreted by Bruce Willis who personifies magnificently the archetypes of the excellent antihero. By means of a marvelous and elegant script, the action develops to pace of video - paper clip, with a perfect aesthetics, action to streams and a sense of the sarcastic, intelligent and brilliant humor. The prominent figures are worn out, leaving each one his personal stamp in the film; as curiosity, the exuberant appears Halle Berry in one of her first appearances on the great screen. We are before an impact ante and entertaining movie, which it(he,she) seems to improve with the years, turning practically into the classic one of the cinema of action.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The pairing of director Tony Scott ("Top Gun"), producer
Silver ("Lethal Weapon" and "Die Hard", among others), and screenwriter
Shane Black ("Lethal Weapon", "Long Kiss Goodnight") led to one of the
brutal action films of it's
time. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert gave it three
stars, but not without citing it's misogynistic and degrading
qualities. True enough, it's not a pretty picture: people
beaten, shot, and maimed in all sorts of ways; women are
around and degraded; a 13-year old girl cusses, is cussed
has a gun pointed at her temple by her own father, and is put in the path
Despite all that, I enjoy watching the film, but not for any of the above qualities. The movie has an energy and a chemistry between the two leads (Willis and Wayans) that is missing from most action films. Shane Black's screenplay is full of hilarious gems (see the "Quotes" section.) There's a freeway scene where our heroes attempt to alert someone of a bomb. Wayans pulls out a pen and paper and draws a picture. Willis replied, "That doesn't look like a bomb; it looks like an apple with lines coming out of it! They're gonna say don't open the briefcase, it's full of fresh fruit!" Wayans spells out B-O-M, and shows the paper to the person they're after, only to have the person fire a shot at them. Willis replies, "I meant to tell you: bomb means 'f**k you' in Polish." It's a scene that represents the comic timing of the film.
Of course, the nastiness of the film is what most remember about it. There's a good amount of foul language and an even greater amount of graphic violence (the villain meets a really gruesome end.) And of course, women aren't spared in this one. The relationship between Willis and his estranged wife is one of friction: when he catches his best friend with her, he pulls out a gun and shoots, hitting their wedding photo. And at the end, as the two reunite, he embraces her and whispers profanity in her ear; not the most loving sentiment.
The bottom line: this isn't really a film for the faint of heart. It's a rough film, as it almost should be. The easily offended might consider something lighter and fluffier. All others might consider giving this film a shot.
Before commenting on the movie itself I would like to explain my position on "judging" movies (since I'm a newbie here). Namely - IMHO, one has to analyze the "how", not the "what". Meaning - if you, for instance, compare this movie to a, for example, Pasolini / Bertolucci / Tarkovski / Whoever-else, you won't get far. There's no way to choose between a melon and a steak - one is a main course, another is dessert. Now then, all I gotta say on the actual movie is: an excellent specie of a purely commercial entertainment for grown-ups with a lot of kid stuff inside. The advantages and limitations of the genre - which is your typical action with a twist of comedy - are played on beautifully by the great action hero (who, IMHO, is also much more than that) Bruce Willis with his usual charisma and self-irony. Damon Wanes gives a very decent, even if a bit "afroamerican-comedy-club stereotype" performance, every note is in it's rightful place, though he is not as yet the actor we know from "Bamboozled". Danielle Harris is easy-going, natural and convincing as a teen daughter of the Last Boyscout. Chelsea Field is a bit shallow in this, your standard "wife". I think the role needed more "soulsearching". Taylor Negrin was too "cartoony" for my taste, a bit over the top, so didn't affect me as scary, which was obviously intended. The screenplay is fast, alive and has a good balance of drama/comedy, without rubbing our faces in either. Tony Scott keeps it interesting with his very own and unique visual style. On the whole - a highly enjoyable quality entertainment. WATCH IT - HAVE FUN!
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