I have a history with this film going back to its original cinema release back in 1991; although I never saw it at the cinema, and in fact I never saw it for a good few years afterwards, the ad had been peeping out at me from every american comic book I bought for about 3 months (back in those days that was a LOT of books). Gives you an idea of the demographic they were going for....
The Last Boy Scout, although released in 1991, is most definitely tonally an 80's film, filled with excess, all gloss and no substance, and with shudderingly awful dialogue. But I get ahead of myself...
For its day, the film had all the right pieces to be an absolute blockbuster. Tony Scott onboard as Director, Joel Silver producing, uber-writer Shane Black paid $1.75 million for the script, top film composer Michael Kamen scoring and (at the time) huge box office star Bruce Willis headlining. It wasn't the blockbuster all had hoped (and following the huge flop Hudson Hawk, Willis was starting to lose his megastar status) although with video rentals and sales it ended up almost doubling its money, which can't be too bad.
THE MAIN CAST:
PLOT: All a bit silly really. Willis plays a (horrifically cliched chain smoking, heavy drinking yet able to punch out clearly fitter, bigger men) grizzled private investigator, who we learn used to be a secret service agent who had saved the Presidents life, but was dismissed after attacking a Senator who had been abusing a woman. His life is (yawn) a mess - daughter hates him, wife is cheating on him with his best friend, sleeps in his car etc. He takes on a simple job, keeping a protective eye on a club stripper (played pretty well by a young Halle Berry, who looks fantastic) who is then murdered by professional hitmen. He teams up with her boyfriend Damon Wayans, a former American Football star, to try and find out why she was killed, and we slip comfortably into the 'mismatched buddy' film, plenty of sarcasm, deadpan humour, and dislike growing into grudging friendship.
The actual final pay off, involving sports fixing and illegal gambling, is all a bit silly and doesn't make much sense, but suffice it to say by films end Willis and Wayans are friends, Willis's daughter has a new found respect for good ole' chain smoking, heavy drinking dad, and his wife falls back into his arms.
Time has not been kind to this one. Terrible acting and dialogue (although I get the impression that sometimes Shane Black is well aware of the awful dialogue he is writing), plenty of neon, cliche bad guys, a lot of gun porn, and plenty of shouty action set pieces. Don't get me wrong, I like brainless action films as much as the next guy, but this set the bar too low. Willis sleepwalked through this film, his acting repertoire consisting of a 'mellow' face and an 'angry' face, the Mr Potato Head of action films ('don't forget to pack your angry eyes'). Tony Scott has always liked an explosion or three, but needed to be reined in a bit more here, and clearly a scriptwriter being paid nearly $2 million can write whatever the heck he wants! In a strange way, it is quite entertaining, and a great snapshot of cinema 20 years ago, but lacks any charm or wit, and is not half as witty as it likes to think it is. I also found the use of Willis's characters (young) daughter, as a frequent hostage/ prop with some sexual threatening involved, extremely distasteful; apart from anything else, it is a lazy plot device.
Not one to seek out, unless you think Bruce Willis was great in Hudson Hawk.....
Upgraded picture quality is excellent, for a 20 years + film, Tony Scott's trademark vibrant colours definitely shine through; not an audio expert but no complaints with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, sounded good to me.
Can't really justify a purchase here. If you like the original film and have it on dvd, the blu-ray definitely upgrades your viewing pleasure, but you get nothing more for your money. Anyone who has yet to see the film, I'd avoid; all the creative people involved went on to far better stuff, and I'd spend your hard earned money elsewhere.