Director Tony Scott teamed up with writer Shane Black to deliver a classic action film of the early 90s, The Last Boy Scout, with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans teaming up on screen as a ex-Secret Service agent turned private detective, Joe Hallenbeck, and a former NFL all star, Jimmy Dix.
When a client (played by Halle Berry!) and former friend are killed Hallenbeck is thrown together with his client’s boyfriend, Jimmy, and find themselves in a world of hurt and trouble as they navigate the world of sports gambling and the NFL. Throw in some marital problems at home for Joe in the form of his wife, Sarah (Chelsea Field) and troublesome daughter, Darian (Danielle Harris).
The action leads them to a plot to kill a senator, the only hold out on the legalising of sports gambling. A senator (Chelcie Ross) who had Joe fired from his detail, making Joe the perfect patsy for a frame-up by the conniving Marcone (Noble Willingham) and his henchman, Milo (Taylor Negron).
The film is saturated with colours in Scott’s trademark style, and has brilliantly funny and biting dialogue, Black’s modus operandi – throw in Willis and Wayans, and this movie still entertains today.
Here’s the thing though. I hadn’t watched this easily since the turn of the century – I saw it in theatres, owned it on video, but hadn’t seen it since the transition to DVD or blu-ray, so it has been awhile. Watching it today, it’s still a great flick, but it feels smaller.
There are set pieces, and great moments, but the ride is over way too quick, and it’s not as action-packed as I remember. Which isn’t to say it isn’t good, I loved it, as I love most things Tony Scott or Shane Black (with exceptions for both) and honestly this is the Willis I enjoy, a regular guy, troubled, beaten down, problems, but determined, and with a sarcastic way with words.
I remember laughing at the crackling dialogue (and quoting it endlessly) and enjoying the action beats, in fact when I had it on tape, this was a regular go to for me. I’m sorry I hadn’t watched it in so long, but after some twenty years, it was like seeing it fresh again (while still knowing a lot of the dialogue).
This one was huge on video when it first came out, and even though I didn’t really ken who Tony Scott was when I was a silly teen and twenty-something, I knew he did Top Gun, but I didn’t really pay attention to style, substance or the like at that age.
It was great to revisit this one, and just enjoy a good action flick from the 90s. When was the last time you saw this one?