After “Lethal Weapon 2” was released in 1989, Shane Black (one of my favorite writers) worked on an original script inspired by his breakup with a girlfriend as a serious and less funny version of “Lethal Weapon” with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans teaming up to investigate a slain woman tied to a crooked Politian and sleazy football owner. The premise I’m referring to is none other than “The Last Boy Scout.” Released in 1991, (same year Point Break came out) it received mixed reviews from critics. Regardless of divisive reactions, the film made enough revenue at the box office. Overtime, The Last Boy Scout earned better reception.
During December month, I’ll be reviewing a few Christmas movies to get into the holiday spirit. One more thing, I’m also reviewing Disney films inspired by Nostalgia Critic’s Disneycember. Which Christmas film or Disney film should I review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back.
This review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Upgrade & Downgrade Qualities
Upgrade: Bruce Willis & Damon Wayans both did a decent job for their respective performances.
Danielle Harris (Debbie from The Wild Thornberrys) and a then unknown Halle Berry both did a good job for their respective performances. Ms. Harris mentioned her role as Darian is her personal favorite.
Tony Scott (Ridley’s late younger brother) did a great job directing.
Shane Black wrote the script. Unlike Lethal Weapon, the tone is less humorous.
Fun Fact: Shane was paid $1.75 million when Warner Bros. won a bidding war to produce the movie.
Joel Silver produced the film. He mentioned this movie is one of the worst experiences of his career. Mr. Scott didn’t get along with Joel. In 1993, (the exact same year I was born) he and Quentin Tarantino created a drug addicted Hollywood producer as payback.
Action Sequences are pretty good.
Pacing didn’t seem slow or fast. Felt balanced.
Cinematography never succumbs to technical issues throughout. Dutch Angles were used sparingly, building up significant plot points.
Michael Kamen (Brazil, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) orchestrated the soundtrack.
Chemistry between Joe & Jimmy serves as the main highlight.
If you’re scratching your head, why The Last Boy Scout is a Christmas movie? Joe sees Darian’s crude drawing of Santa Claus. There’s your answer. Mr. Black’s known for making most of his works set around Christmas. Care to explain “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” & “Iron Man 3.”
One scene shows Darian watching Lethal Weapon. An obvious wink Shane Black wrote the first and second movie. Damon went on to play Roger Murtaugh in the 2016 TV series.
Joe mentioned his daughter wearing makeup makes her look like a raccoon. Bruce went on to voice RJ the raccoon from “Over the Hedge.”
Again, Joe’s marital and family problems is loosely based on Shane’s breakup with a girlfriend.
At one point, Jimmy utters out Arnold Schwarzenegger’s catchphrase, “I’ll be back.” Coincidentally, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” also came out in 1991. Shane & Arnold later worked on “Last Action Hero.”
A then unknown Eddie Griffin makes a brief appearance as a strip club DJ.
The late James Gandolfini appears as a henchman.
Downgrade: The villain’s scheme is to bribe senators to make gambling on sports legal. In 2018, The Supreme Court legalized sports gambling. Boy, this did not age well. Joe said, “This is the ’90s.” Making the movie a tad dated.
The Final Verdict: A-
From my perspective, The Last Boy Scout is a very good buddy-cop Christmas movie. As a fan of Shane Black’s work, it’s one of his best works alongside the Lethal Weapon series & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If you haven’t seen The Last Boy Scout, watch it during the holiday season.