Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Seen: On our projector set-up, streamed from Miles' computer.

Tony Scott's passing reminded me that I really haven't seen too many Tony Scott movies, which is unfortunate since most of them sound pretty cool. The Last Boy Scout was considered the most necessary viewing for its inclusion of Bruce Willis and a Shane Black screenplay. Willis stars as Joe, a drunk, cynical, world-weary private detective (duh!), who used to be a big-deal Secret Service agent. After a woman he's hired to guard is killed, he teams up with her boyfriend Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans), a former NFL star, to find her killer. They find a case of corruption that spreads from the NFL to a high-profile senator, and a trail of bodies following in their wake.

After a super dark and kind of awesome but mostly tonally dissonant opening sequence, The Last Boy Scout settles into the kind of quick, mean-spirited but hilarious dialogue and relationship struggles with which I identify Shane Black (since the main thing of his I'm super familiar with is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Willis and Wayans are kind of a weird team but they make it work by marking their differences in age/wealth/experience/style/etc and then piling on the sharp comebacks every chance they get. Plus they both have fucked up family problems so their friendship has that as a strong foundation. Good team.

Aside from all the quips, this is a solid action/mystery with a kickass car chase and a surprising number of explosions. Very exciting finale, too- there's even a horse! I loved Taylor Negron as the bleached-blonde, ice-cold bad guy Milo, who may be just a henchmen for the big villains but manages to be the most unhinged and unkillable, so he becomes the greatest threat. My only issue with the movie is that it takes a little while to get going, focusing a lot on Joe's family nonsense in the beginning. I didn't especially care about his wife or their relationship, I didn't even understand why they were still together when presumably he was a pretty shitty husband/father, and it just didn't have much of a bearing on the story as a whole. His foul-mouthed young daughter ("played by Danielle Harris of Eerie, Indiana fame," says nobody but me) gets to play an interesting part towards the middle, which was nice I thought, but that's about it. Once the plot picks up it gets really good though, even if everything's poorly-lit. (I feel like there was some sort of darkness standard for a lot of early 90s movies, so I don't count that against it.) The best part is obviously Damon Wayans' AMAZING outfits.


Pair This Movie With: Ummm well something about how he had to save his daughter or whatever reminded me of True Lies. Or of course for more Shane Black goodness there's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Last Action Hero.

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