The Last Boy Scout [VHS] [1992]

In giving 1991’s The Last Boy Scout a three-star review, critic Roger Ebert was properly performing his duty as an objective reporter, praising the filmmakers’ professional skill while observing that “the only consistent theme of the film is its hatred of women”. For the purposes of this capsule review, there’s no such obligation to level-headed fairness; the simple truth is, this ultraviolent, action-packed vehicle for Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans is disgustingly rotten to the core. Not only is it fuelled by a bitter and spiteful attitude toward women, it’s also the kind of profanely vulgar movie that doesn’t hesitate to put foul-mouthed children in the path of vicious thugs and potentially deadly situations. Willis plays an ex-secret service agent turned private detective who is hired to protect a stripper (Halle Berry) and then teams up with the stripper’s boyfriend (Wayans), a disgraced NFL star who was kicked out of football for gambling. They catch on to a criminal plot leading all the way up to a corrupt football team owner who wants to legalise gambling on pro football. Willis and Wayans get in and out of all sorts of trouble along the way, and naturally there are plenty of explosions to go along with the brutal beatings, gunfire and constant cussing. Shane Black (of Lethal Weapon infamy) set a Hollywood record (since broken, several times) for the sale price of his slick but vile screenplay and Top Gun director Tony Scott handles the action with his trademark gloss and high-impact style. But, seriously, is this a movie that anyone could bear to watch twice? –Jeff Shannon