The Last Boy Scout


Year 1991

Bruce Willis as  Joe Hallenbeck
Damon Wayans   as Jimmy Dix
Bruce McGill as Mike Matthews
Chelsea Field as Sarah Hallenbeck
Danielle Harris as Darian Hallenbeck  
Halle Berry as Cory
 
Director - Tony Scott
Screenwriters - Shane Black
  - Greg Hicks

Recently, I picked up a four-pack of Bruce Willis movies for the price of one DVD. I figured if even one of the four was any good, I'd at least break even.

The first movie I decided to watch was The Last Boy Scout. I remember seeing it years ago and had been less than favorably impressed with it. It's got stale jokes, predictable action sequences, and a few unlikable "good" characters. There aren't any plot twists with the exception of the early death of the woman that Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) is supposed to be protecting. But, I should've seen that one coming, too.

You see, Joe is a down and out private investigator who, when he isn't drinking and feeling sorry for himself, is a tough guy. He was once a member of the Secret Service and he'd even saved someone's life. But of course he got cashiered for helping out a call girl who was being paid to indulge in BDSM by a kinky Senator.

No mention of what became of her. Probably went back for more money even though Joe got canned over her. Maybe that's jaded, but this movie tries hard, and fails, to be deeply dark and morose.

Back to Joe, who is now a PI. His best friend, Mike Matthews (Bruce McGill) is another PI who happens to be sleeping with Joe's wife. This bothers Joe. But because he's so hard boiled, he decides to ignore the relationship in favor of a job offered to him by Mike. Mike needs Joe to watch over a girl who happens to be an exotic dancer and the girlfriend of an ex-pro football quarterback. Get the picture?

The plot isn't too bad really. It's old and hackneyed, but moves along nicely. People limp when they're supposed to and there are only a couple of superhuman feats.

There's a lot wrong with this movie. For example, the main premise is that the ratings and attendance for the NFL games are going down. Planet what? The bookies are supposedly in charge of the sport (I don't know if even the mob is big enough to take on the NFL) and forcing players to do things like pull guns out of their jerseys and shoot would be tacklers. No mention of whether the touchdown counted or if it was called back on a penalty.

Lame jokes? How about, "You're wife is so fat, you need to roll her in flour to find the wet spot." And that was enough to force a would be executioner into paroxysms of laughter so that Joe could turn the tables. Then there Joe's daughter. Teenage girls have attitudes; ask any attitude assuming teenage boy on this point of fact. But this girl has a slimy attitude and talks with a mouth that a sailor would be ashamed of.

What makes the film watchable is that, if you don't take it at all seriously, it's entertaining at times. Damon Wayans and Bruce Willis often pair up nicely. At other times they seem to be attempting to one-up each other. During those "other times", the audience loses.

If you liked "Hudson Hawk" then you might like this one, too.


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