After being on a 90s action movie fix since the Christmas holidays, and re-watching the "Die Hard" movies, I remembered another lesser known Bruce Willis, and in my opinion, classic action 90s movie not may people have seen. That being director Tony Scott's 1991 Action Crime Comedy "The Last Boy Scout" starring Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans.
Definitely comic book film noir influenced
I personally like to think of this movie as "Die Hard 2.5", fitting somewhere unofficially between the 2nd and 3rd movies. And although I agree with my friend Sam's assessment that this movie is pretty much "Sin City", all they needed to do was call Bruce Willis' character 'John' instead of "Joe' and left it ambiguously at that. Maybe this was done intentionally.
I would never have thought to put the camera behind Damon Wayan's character lying on the floor of the bathroom like this
It's pure early 90s action, violent and visceral, the bad guys were really bad and the good guys were flawed and broken, on the cusp of being washed up. And with amazing dialogue banter from writer/director Shane Black, known for writing fairly popular movies like "Lethal Weapon" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", oh and he directed a little movie called "Iron Man 3" as well.
Classic scene, dialogue and a build up of tense interaction
What stuck out for me the most was the cinematography and lighting. Bordering on the "film noir" in parts, it's dark and moody, some scenes playing out with the actor's faces obscured in darkness or behind smoke. Great use of dutch tilt interesting camera angles and camera locations, and all the usual 'rule of thirds' fancy stuff also included. It conjures up memories of watching classic movies where whole scenes would play out with little to no lighting. An age of movie making that things weren't (usually) fixed later in post.
My favourite is this shot, Damon Wayan's character's face is completely obscured yet the frame is filled with so much stylish visual information
So this blog post is out of appreciation for Director of Photography Ward Russell's cinematography in this underrated classic action movie. Go watch it if you haven't.