The Last Boy Scout

December 13th, 1991


The Last Boy Scout

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Still of Bruce Willis in The Last Boy ScoutStill of Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans in The Last Boy ScoutStill of Damon Wayans in The Last Boy Scout

A down and out cynical detective teams up with a down and out ex-quarterback to try and solve a murder case involving a pro football team and a politician.

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 6.8/10 (40,781 voted)

Director: Tony Scott

Stars: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field

A down and out cynical detective teams up with a down and out ex-quarterback to try and solve a murder case involving a pro football team and a politician.

Writers: Shane Black, Greg Hicks

Bruce Willis - Joe Hallenbeck
Damon Wayans - Jimmy Dix
Chelsea Field - Sarah Hallenbeck
Noble Willingham - Sheldon Marcone
Taylor Negron - Milo
Danielle Harris - Darian Hallenbeck
Halle Berry - Cory
Bruce McGill - Mike Matthews
Badja Djola - Alley Thug
Kim Coates - Chet
Chelcie Ross - Senator Baynard
Joe Santos - Bessalo
Clarence Felder - McCoskey
Tony Longo - Big Ray Walston
Frank Collison - Pablo

Taglines: They're two fallen heroes up against the gambling syndicate in pro sports.

Release Date: 13 December 1991

Filming Locations: Beverly Hills, California, USA

Gross: $59,509,925 (USA)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Germany: (cut version)

Did You Know?

The card Jimmy Dix signs for Joe's daughter is a Pro Set Superbowl Super Heroes card. That set, which was produced by the only card company ever fully endorsed by the NFL, was made only in 1991 and featured stars of the NFL's biggest game. On that note, Damon Wayans has been asked for "Jimmy Dix's" autograph in real life...and given it.

Continuity: When the red convertible goes down the hill during the chase, the windshield is alternately missing/intact between shots.

[first lines]
Locker Room Kid: Billy Cole. Billy Cole.
Head Coach: The first half stunk! Open the holes up! Get in there like hogs! Like pigs!
Locker Room Kid: Billy Cole. You got a call on line three.
Head Coach: Let's go out there in this half and kick some butt! Let's get out of this town as a winner! I hate Cleveland!

User Review

A genre classic - oft copied, never matched

Rating: 8/10

Although this film receives a lot of credit for reinvigorating the action/buddy genre movie, the praise is too often misdirected. For instance, whilst Bruce Willis gives a solid performance as low-life private eye Joe Hallenbeck, we have seen the act a dozen times. There are remnants of Die Hard's John McClane in every knowing smirk and pained cigarette inhalation. Equally, Tony Scott's direction is still based on an obsession with placing bright lights behind the actors and turning up the volume of car chases and gunshots. Jimmy Dix, the faded football hero, is given a suitably comic persona by Damon Wayons and the action sequences are as good as you will find elsewhere in Hollywood. However, these are not the attractions of the film for me.

You might think, from what is written above, that I disliked the film but you would be mistaken to think that as I believe it to be an absolute classic of its kind. I truly think The Last Boy Scout should be used as a teaching tool at film schools the world over. In spite of its glaring limitations it is a movie that has everything! The opening scene is a modern movie classic - up there with those of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Goodfellas. If there is a film-goer alive whose mouth didn't gape in wonderous amusement at the climax to the opening scene then I am amazed. The plot, as far fetched as it is, provides a perfect vehicle for the key elements that go towards making this the gem of a movie that it is.

First in the list of key elements is the wonderfully funny dialogue. Shane Black's hallmark of snappy one-liners is all over the sizzling repartee between the two heroes. Even Hallenbeck's daughter gets a couple of laugh-out-loud lines. Secondly, the story benefits from the ideal combination of: sport, gambling, violence, comedy, the odd topless dancer, important values of family and friendship, revenge and honour. Take out the topless dancer and they pretty much all feature in The Godfather!

The third crucial component for the success of The Last Boy Scout is the perfect casting of the bad guys. Milo, played to chilling perfection by Taylor Negron, is a bad guy with a difference. He isn't just a mindless hard man. His brilliantly annoying habit of calling people by their elongated names is a superb touch (Joe becomes Joseph, Jimmy becomes James and so on), as are his attempts at civility when trying to "do a formal introduction" with the kidnapped Hallenbeck. Other bad guys are fleshed out and distinguished by quirky traits or funny lines. They are not merely there to make the good guys look good.

Overall, this film is not a piece of celluloid art. It is, however, a perfect example of popcorn-friendly entertainment. It is the sort of movie you imagine the makers would like to see as movie-goers themselves. Without being utterly contemptible or mindlessly low-brow it entertains. An ideal Saturday night movie to watch with a group of friends.


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