The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Buddy Film, Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Dec 13, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

The testosterone levels of this ultra-macho action flick are way over the top even for producer Joel Silver, genre scribe Shane Black, and director Tony Scott. The film moves along at a brisk enough pace that the mounting number of bad lines and narrative clich├ęs might just go by unnoticed. There's no escaping the film's horny teenage boy worldview, however. This includes heroes who are down and out, but it's not their fault: Bruce Willis' character is a Secret Service agent who once saved the president's life, but whose downfall was arranged by an evil politician. Sports god Damon Wayans became addicted to a painkiller necessary because of injuries he sustained while performing his gridiron heroics. Simultaneously, the viewer is treated to heaping helpings of rampaging misogyny toward women, as the three female leads are a nagging philanderer, a foul-mouthed teen, and a sexy nightclub dancer whose body is displayed at every opportunity. Any film from the team of Silver, Black, and Scott is really going to be about action sequences, however, and the film has them in abundance. There's even a problem here, however. As each successive film turns up the dial on explosions, car chases, number of bullets fired, and bodies mangled, the limits of this genre become so strained that credulity is seriously threatened, the violence becoming so devoid of passion and cartoon-like that nobody really cares. The Last Boy Scout (1991), like so many other big-budget action epics, strains mightily in its defiant effort to top the films that have gone before it, and in so doing loses its soul.