"The Last Boy Scout" DVD, Blu-ray Review

7/14/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Last Boy Scout"

DVD, Blu-ray Review

Directed by Tony Scott, Written by Shane Black, 105 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

They really don't make them like this anymore, do they?

"The Last Boy Scout" was released at the height of its genre, that smokey, gritty type of action movie where there were always crazy white guys teaming up with funny black guys, explosions were actually payoffs instead of occurring every few seconds (I'm looking at you, Michael Bay), and the characters were all completely absurd--and they knew it. "Lethal Weapon," "Die Hard," that kind of thing.

"Boy Scout," written by the great '90s action screenwriter Shane Black and directed by Tony Scott before the guy discovered red filters and editing on acid, follows misanthropic private detective Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis), who is brought on by a fellow PI to investigate some trouble surrounding an exotic dancer. After Joe's friend and the dancer are mysteriously murdered, Joe is joined by the dancer's boyfriend, ex-football star Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans), as he attempts to unravel a political assassination plot involving a football team owner and the corrupt senator Joe used to work for.

The plot is complete madness, with various twists and turns popping up every few minutes and the overall mystery being completely ridiculous, but the strength of the characters holds everything together surprisingly well. There's also a decent amount of character development for a film like this, with Willis and Wayans having pretty sufficient motivation for their respective personalities, which is a rarity in even some of the best action films.

The duo's performances aren't too bad either. I suppose one could say Willis is basically just giving the same performance he's been giving for a couple decades now, but when that performance is this good, there's not much to complain about. Wayans, meanwhile, manages to keep up with Willis pretty well, both in wit and in his overall presence, and though he's definitely the main source of comic relief, it's far from a one-note performance and there's never really a feeling that one character is more significant than the other. And of course, most importantly, the two work very well together.

Though the story isn't quite as smart as it could be, Black still proves to be an excellent wordsmith here, with dialogue acting as the primary storyteller--there's some extremely clever foreshadowing in his writing, with little quips early in the film getting immense payoff later in the film. One involving Wayans and a horse in the uproariously insane final act is particularly inspired.

You really have to wonder what has changed in the years between this film and now. Most action films really aren't like this anymore--they've gotten bigger and broader, but also less attentive to character. Perhaps it's just that audiences need more to fulfill their "action high" these days--or maybe studios are just taking the easy way out and sacrificing good casting and writing for a quicker and simpler product. Either way, they just aren't the same--not always in a bad way, of course, the genre still has plenty to offer--but you won't find any films like "Boy Scout" these days, and that's a shame.

Grade: B-

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes