Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Last Boy Scout (Tony Scott, 1991)

Television and movies are full of mismatched couples. It is often a cheap way to create tension and avoid actual character development. It is at times done well. Hell, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are a mismatched pair of crime-fighters. The Last Boy Scout is another in a string of films featuring an established action star (Bruce Willis) with a young, hip, rising star (Damon Wayans). Think 48 Hours. I'll just say up front that I have always enjoyed this movie. It is neither great nor so-bad-it's-good. It is a solid action film with many great elements, and several execution failures.

Willis plays Joe Hallenbeck, a former Secret Service agent who was disgraced after stopping his Senator/charge from further abusing/probably raping a woman. Wayans plays Jimmy Dix, a disgraced former football star who loses his job after allegations of gambling and drug abuse. Turns out both men's former bosses are working together on a dastardly scheme. Once they start killing people to cover things up, particularly Dix's girlfriend Cory (Halle Berry), Hallenbeck and Dix go after them both.

The good: Willis is a fairly typical himself for the time period. He is a tough, wise-cracking guy with a bad marriage and few friends. He's another version of John McLean (Die Hard). He has some great lines and excellent delivery. Wayans has his moments as well, but occasionally things seem forced when they interact. There are some great funny scenes, particularly when a gangster with a penchant for multi-syllabic words is having them beaten up and Wayans exclaims, "we're being beaten up by the inventor of Scrabble!" Taylor Negron plays one of the main henchmen, and puts his bizarre stylings to great use as a psychopath.

The bad: Well, the clever patter is not always so clever. They are really shooting for a film noir feel, with a touch of His Girl Friday but it falls flat at times. Wayans is often the cause of the problem which is odd because he is a funny guy. Granted, this was his first high profile role. His next feature would be Mo'Money, and I think we know how amateurish the acting there was. Here is the scene where the two meet. Unfortunately, this is about as good as both of them get.

That is about all the Halle Berry you get, unfortunately. I am fairly sure that is a body-double when she's dancing; the tell-tale no-body-with-face shooting is ever present. She gets killed pretty quickly. A waste, really.

The best part is, this movie is rewatchable. It's a good "nothing is on" movie. You don't have to pay attention too much. There are some great scenes that will draw you back into it if you are using it for noise while playing on the internet. It is a good, solid film. If you've not seen it, I highly recommend it, just don't think you are going into Citizen Kane.


Cap'n Carrot said...

I have a fondness for this flick, but my favorite Shane Black penned film is another buddy action comedy (with a good measure of noir mixed in): Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. Definitely worth a look if you haven't seen it.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I'll have to look for that one. I still like Val Kilmer. He'll always be Doc Holiday to me :-)

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