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Tony Scott
Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Halle Berry, Chelsea Field, Noble Willingham, Taylor Negron, Danielle Harris
Writing Credits:
Greg Hicks (story), Shane Black (and story)

The goal is to survive.

He’s in this game for keeps: Bruce Willis is a P.I. tackling corruption inside pro football, and the deadly line of scrimmage stretches all across L.A. in The Last Boy Scout. Damon Wayans and Halle Berry costar, and director Tony Scott (Top Gun) ramps up the punches and punchlines.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$59.509 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 7/6/2010

• Double Feature with Last Man Standing


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Last Boy Scout: Action Double Feature [Blu-Ray] (1991)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 7, 2010)

Back from the era of the Big Action Star, 1991’s Last Boy Scout gives us a pretty standard-issue Bruce Willis vehicle from that period. Joe Hallenbeck (Willis) used to be a Secret Service agent, but he got the boot when he refused to go along with a politician’s scummy behavior.

Now Hallenbeck works as a private detective as he drinks his life away and alienates his loved ones. He gets an assignment to protect a stripper named Cory (Halle Berry) who feels threatened. Along the way, he bumps heads with Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans), a former pro football player who got banned from the league for gambling.

This doesn’t work well for Cory, as she ends up brutally gunned down in the street. To Hallenbeck, this ends the assignment, but Dix wants to investigate the killing. Eventually Joe agrees, and the pair start down a complex road of scandal and deceit.

Virtually all movies act as time capsules, but some seem more firmly rooted in their particular eras than others. Into that category falls the relentlessly dated Scout. Everything about this movie screams “early 90s”, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Actually, I have fondness for the period, but when I watch flicks like Scout, I can’t quite figure out why crud like this entertained us back in the day. Scout is the kind of movie that Last Action Hero attempted to lampoon two years later. Both came from screenwriter Shane Black, which makes me wonder how much of Scout intended to be self-parody.

I suspect some, but not enough to excuse the silliness on display here. Where is this world in which guys crack wise about leather pants right after the brutal murder of a woman close to one of them? I guess it’s the same place where a 13-year-old girl gets stuck in the middle of a shootout but shows no signs of mental trauma.

I won’t claim that the filmmakers took all of this stuff seriously and intended for us to view it as real-life. Of course there’s a lot of artistic license on display, with everything made larger than life, and I can accept that – to a degree. Sure, we expect a certain level of unreality from a movie like this; Scout simply goes to an absurd place with them.

The film’s script essentially provides a constant string of lame one-liners along with tough talk from an interchangeable array of low-lifes. If Black managed to imbue some cleverness into the attempted jokes, they’d be less obnoxious, but they’re so witless that they just grate.

Tony Scott has always been a pretty mediocre director, and nothing he does here manages to alter that impression. Indeed, his love for stylized visuals becomes another factor that sends Scout into self-parody territory. This becomes clear from the opening scene, in which a nationally broadcast pro football game looks like it’s taking place in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Are there no lights in the stadium? Apparently they lit up the game with a random assortment of flashlights that randomly panned the field.

Again, a more engaging movie might get away with all these script/visual choices, but Scout simply remains too stupid and lacking in verve to allow us to go along for the ride. Willis simply plays a less interesting variation on Die Hard’s John McClane, and he displays little chemistry with Wayans. Neither does anything to elevate the tepid material.

I know that I looked forward to Last Boy Scout in 1991, and I vaguely recall that it disappointed me. If I look back on it again in 2029, I won’t have to wonder what how I used to think about it, as this review will act as a monument to my disdain. I’ve seen worse action films, but Scout remains a silly dud.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus NA

The Last Boy Scout appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The transfer never really shined, but it generally looked good.

For the most part, sharpness was solid. A few shots came across as a little soft and fuzzy, but those instances created only minor distractions. The majority of the flick offered clear, distinctive visuals. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws didn’t create problems. I saw a couple of small specks but the rest of the movie was clean.

Scout went with a stylized palette. In general, daytime LA looked orange, and nighttime LA looked blue. Those tendencies weren’t extreme, but they affected much of the presentation. Within the stylistic restraints, I thought the colors appeared good, and scenes with more natural tones looked very nice. Blacks were reasonably tight and dense, and shadows seemed fine. The movie intentionally made many shots dark, so those could be tough to discern, but that was a visual choice, not a problem with the transfer. Overall, I felt fairly pleased with the presentation.

I also thought that the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was good but not great. The soundfield focused pretty heavily on the front spectrum. Music showed decent stereo spread, and the effects broadened across the forward channels in a fairly satisfying manner. The back channels also kicked in with reasonable reinforcement, though that side of things wasn’t as active as I expected from a big action flick. We got big explosions and gunshots from the rear, but not a lot of pizzazz came along for the ride.

Still, this was a more than competent soundscape for its era, and audio quality satisfied. Speech remained natural and concise, and the music appeared bright and full. Effects lacked terrific pizzazz and could be a little rough, but they seemed acceptable for their age. All of this added up to a competent “B”-grade soundtrack.

Technically, no extras come with this disc. However, Scout arrives as a double-feature release; 1996’s Last Man Standing also appears on the same platter. You could consider one movie or the other to be a bonus feature, I guess. This is either a totally barebones release or one that comes with an added film. Because it’s an open question, I chose not to give the Blu-ray a grade for supplements.

When people discuss the best action films of the 90s, they’re unlikely to mention The Last Boy Scout. It offers standard fare that veers too far into self-parody territory for my liking and it offers too little excitement to redeem its flaws. The Blu-ray boasts pretty good picture and audio. Movie-related supplements fail to appear, but the double-feature disc includes another Bruce Willis movie. Fans of Scout will like its treatment on Blu-ray, but I can’t recommend this dopey flick to others.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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