Classic Review – The Last Boy Scout (1991)

the last boy scout

Wayans and Willis provide one of the great mismatched duo’s

The Last Boy Scout

Directed by Tony Scott

Starring Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field

Review by Jordan

In an initial review shortly after it’s release, a much finer writer than myself stated that the story of action maestro Tony Scott’s The Last Boy Scout “depends heavily on the device of the Talking Killer,” whereby the plot only continues because the villains love to talk and divulge plans to the hero, when they could just as easily kill him and thus extinguish all immediate threats.

This critic was the greatest of all, Roger Ebert, who then went on to award it 3 out of 4 stars; admitting that while misogynistic a degree of competency and slick execution couldn’t be denied.

Rarely have I ever disagreed with Chicago Sun Times scribe (The Usual Suspects a severe exception), and in this case I couldn’t agree more…

The Last Boy Scout hasn’t retained an exhilarating freshness in a heavily over-populated genre because of a unique plot or deeply interesting characters, and indeed the female characters exist solely to further justify the motivations of the male leads, but rare is the guilty pleasure that provides such a never-faltering bombardment of fun while not pushing the envelope, but rather making best use of it.

Set among the backdrop of professional football, where corruption is rife and the wrong people are being killed, Scott’s (or perhaps prolific producer Joel Silver’s) first, and most important masterstroke was the casting of polar opposites Damon Wayans and Bruce Willis as a disgraced footballer and former bodyguard to the President respectively, who team up to avenge the murder of Jimmy Dix’ (Wayans) girlfriend Cory (an early appearance from Halle Berry). Willis in particular as the wise-cracking, relentless Joe Hallenbeck is joy to behold, having now succumb to a mid-to-late career slump, constantly emitting a sense of laziness in every predictable role he tackles. He embodies the very definition of too-cool-for-school, and as henchman Chet (Kim Coates) brutally discovers, he is more lethal and troublesome than his enemies give him credit for.

Having Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) as writer of the story and screenplay was also a major coup, with Black having gone on to write the brilliantly fun Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), and come of age with the writing and directing of one of the best films of 2005 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He also directed Iron Man 3, but that need not be spoken.

The perfect blokes film to watch in tandem with Scott’s other ’90’s classic True Romance, The Last Boy Scout presents a sordid tale in an action-packed package that bursts from the screen with a powerful opening scene before providing high octane excitement and witty zingers for the following 90 minutes.

4 comedic hand puppets out of 5


9 responses to “Classic Review – The Last Boy Scout (1991)

  1. This was a childhood favorite. The misogyny makes it difficult to go back to, but I’ll keep it on if I see it on TV. I try to tell myself it’s an element of these 80s/90s movies that only Michael Bay still subscribes to. That helps a little.

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