The Last Boy Scout stars Bruce Willis as a former Secret Service agent-turned-loser private eye named Joe Hallenbeck. He gets a call from his friend Mike Mathews about a job. A strip dancer named Cory has been receiving threats and Joe is asked to be her bodyguard. He agrees and soon crosses paths with her boyfriend Jimmy Dix (played by Damon Wayans), a former L.A quarterback. Jimmy demands to know what trouble she is in but Joe wouldn’t tell him. Jimmy later finds Cory being shot dead in the middle of a busy street. Joe, who was following them, intervenes and Jimmy finds himself in the middle of a firefight between Joe and the hitmen. They both survive the attack and somehow finds themselves teaming up together despite some of the testing situations they are put through.
I deliberately skipped some of the plot details so as to not ruin the experience for those who have not seen it yet. Reading this summary I’ve written, you might think that the story doesn’t sound all that great. But there is so much going on in it. The film can be best described as a contemporary film noir/action thriller. All the traditional film noir elements are there and at the same time, I don’t think you can call this an action comedy, even though there are some funny sequences and plenty of witty one-liners. Oh man, speaking of witty one-liners, there are so many of them that I’ve lost count. They are all brilliant! I haven’t heard anything like these in a long time. They are the strongest aspect of the film and it works because of them.
Willis and Wayans are perfectly cast. At first, it might seem like these two don’t belong in a movie together. Both play characters who are seemingly losers and hate their lives. Willis’ character seems like someone who got used to being called a loser and have very much come to accept that fact. Wayans’ character on the other hand doesn’t seem to take that fact very well. Both characters are involved with women who had cheated on them and both of them have had their share of misfortunes which have led them to the way they are now. Willis’ character reminded me so much of Elliott Gould’s Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye. They both are very similar except for the way they dress.
This is the best buddy movie I’ve seen this side of Midnight Run. All credit goes to writer Shane Black (who wrote the Lethal Weapon series and recently wrote and directed Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Iron Man-3). If Shane is behind a script, you can expect to see at least one wisecracking character in there. There is a particular line that Wayans tells Willis towards the end of the film which sums up the whole movie perfectly, something to the effect of: “This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen you do. You want to avenge a guy who fucked your wife and you want to save a guy who you hate.” I have a feeling that this must have been exactly what Shane Black said when he was pitching the film to the studio bosses. It’s ingenious!
I can’t seem to figure out why this movie slipped under my radar for such a long time. I mean, I grew up on a steady diet of Hollywood action movies and for some odd reason, I never ever thought of watching this one. Perhaps it’s because of the rottentomatoes rating? Or is it the imdb rating? Currently, it has a 44% on rottentomatoes and a 6.9 on imdb and I think this is very, very unfair. In this day and age when the Fast & Furious movies get a rating above 70%, I think this one deserves to have a rating above 80. It is that bloody entertaining. I think it’s way better than all the Die Hard sequels combined.