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The Last Boy Scout

Starring: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans
Director: Tony Scott
Genre: Action
Year: 1991
Rating: 4 / 5

Until 1994's career resurrection in Pulp Fiction, it had long been surmised that Bruce Willis could not carry a movie outside of the Die Hard series. Films such as Blind Date and Death Becomes Her only served to reinforce this notion. Overlooked, though, is that, with an intelligent action script, Bruce Willis is as bankable as film actors come. Willis illustrates this point in 1991's The Last Boy Scout, an action adventure from noted director Tony Scott. With comedian Damon Wayans by his side, Willis flips off witty one-liners while exchanging fisticuffs with the local bad guys. It might not be Oscar-worthy material, but The Last Boy Scout sure is entertaining.

Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans) is a former star football player, down on his luck thanks to a losing battle with painkillers. The one-time star quarterback for Los Angeles, Jimmy now spends his time getting his fix and cheating on his stripper girlfriend Cory (Halle Berry). When Cory hires local private detective Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) to investigate some threats against her, Jimmy's life is turned upside-down. A roadside hit ends Cory's life, leading Jimmy and a reluctant Joe to snoop around for answers. What they uncover is a blackmail scandal involving gambling, a powerful politician, and a very wealthy sports owner in line to become even wealthier.

The Last Boy Scout works because Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans have surprisingly good chemistry on-screen. Willis plays the gruff Joe Hallenbeck with just the right amount of tough guy mentality, a good man who just does not seem to care anymore. Wayans is believable as a former jock, still reeling from a personal tragedy years before and just beginning to put his life back together. In between trading jabs with your standard wooden criminals, the two new partners manage to avoid killing each other, although not for lack of disagreements. Watching Willis play this sort of reluctant hero is like sliding on a comfortable pair of old jeans - some pleasures are just taken for granted.

Director Tony Scott (Top Gun) keeps the pace moving throughout the film, beginning with a shocking occurrence during a nationally-televised football game. The film misfires when focusing too much attention on Hallenbeck's disheveled home life, but, fortunately, the distractions are few. For the most part, The Last Boy Scout works as a buddy movie, with stars Willis and Wayans doing their best impersonations of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. It may be a forgotten offering in the now-extensive Bruce Willis film library, but, in its own quirky way, it is still a film to cherish. Sometimes, older is better…

Cast:

Bruce Willis..........Joe Hallenbeck
Damon Wayans..........Jimmy Dix
Chelsea Field..........Sarah Hallenbeck

Certification: Rated R for violence.
Running Time: 105 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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[critics]