The Last Boy Scout is loud, vulgar, trashy and great entertainment. Bruce Willis plays Joe Hallenbeck, a disgruntled former Secret Service agent struggling with personal demons, a dysfunctional home life and an unsuccessful attempt at living as a private detective. When his newest client, Cory (Halle Berry), is murdered, her boyfriend (Damon Wayans) joins Hallenback to find out why she was killed. What follows is typically Tony Scott accentuated action, male bonding and loads of violent, gruesome deaths followed by outbursts of comic one-liners.
Written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) and directed by Scott (Top Gun), Last Boy Scout works thanks to Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans. The script is stupid, borderline ludicrous quickly stretching beyond believability, ending in an explosive (somewhat literally) climax that resorts to all the clichés of the genre. However, there is some self-satire to be found within the material. Villains are referred to consistently as "the bad guys." Loads of genre clichés are fooled with, spun into jokes the car chases and action sequences become satirical in nature, whilst the personal life of Hallenbeck something that might normally be sugar-coated in another genre film is totally f***ed up, leaving us with a pre-teen daughter who uses profanity like it's going out of style, a cheating wife, and a weary father who stopped giving a crap about it all a long time ago.
It's the stuff like this that makes Last Boy Scout succeed past its own sources. Shane Black is excellent at writing this type of stuff, and it really shows. Willis is given the best one-liners of his entire career, making Die Hard's crackling dialog look like child's play. Willis in particular is so good, and so at ease with his character, that his cynical and edgy performance makes the film worth seeing and heck, even worth owning. It's the ultimate Stupid Male Action Film with Great One-Liners and Loads of Action, a genre I'd like to hereby declare official.
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