The Last Boy Scout
1991, R, 105 min. Directed by Tony Scott. Starring Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field, Noble Willingham, Taylor Negron, Danielle Harris, Halle Berry.
REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., Dec. 13, 1991
Willis plays a detective who was once a squeaky clean Secret Service agent but who has fallen on emotional hard times. Thanks to his past life, he has a nice house, dysfunctional family and a long list of grievances. He finds himself meeting a string of classy, but mean bad guys when he becomes involved in a case connected to a pro football team, the L.A. Stallions, and meets their former quarterback (Wayans). Wayans too has fallen on hard times thanks to a drug habit. So here we are; black guy, white guy: buddy film. That taken care of, there's nothing left to do but spray blood liberally on the screen. The Last Boy Scout is notable for the bewildering array of villains that present themselves one by one only to disappear in a blaze of bullets, a fiery crash or a bone crushing encounter with a heavy object. Up and coming actress Berry from Strictly Business and Jungle Fever makes a brief appearance here as Wayans' girlfriend who gets the case rolling by hiring Willis. She doesn't last very long and nor does she get to wear very many clothes, but Wayans manages to shake off his grief to begin his new life as Willis' buddy. It's not a great bargain, Willis does not seem to work and play well with others. At least they have their moments. On the homefront, Field, as Willis' long-suffering wife, is set up as an adulteress and then she just waits around for her big Bonnie Bedelia scene at the end. It's their child, Harris, who gets all the good lines. Producer Joel Silver and Willis keep trying to remake Die Hard. This time they call in Top Gun director Scott. The result is mildly interesting, but there are so many weird and gratuitous scenes of insane violence that the effect is drained of impact. Silver was quoted in this month's Premiere as saying that Willis movies had to bring in women in order to be successful. The image of Silver by the pool pensive, sincere, wondering “what do women want?”, is delicious but I've got to say I don't think women will want The Last Boy Scout.