Fab 5 Films: RIP Tony Scott

I was shocked and saddened to hear of director Tony Scott’s death by apparent suicide Sunday afternoon. I grew up watching his many commercial blockbusters as his film career and my appreciation for movies seemed to blossom at the same time. He definitely had a unique style and knew how to mix fun, action and style into all of his films.

Before the age of the Internet and YouTube, film fans didn’t know what movies were upcoming until they saw trailers in the theater. Tony Scott was one of the rare directors to create films where you would watch a trailer and think, “That looks like a Tony Scott movie,” and then be happily satisfied when his name appeared. That’s how distinctive his style was. I have seen all of his films and can honestly say that there isn’t a single bad one in the bunch. While he has never been as critically respected as his brother, Ridley, I always got the feeling that he was okay with that. He knew what movie fans wanted and seemed to be comfortable in delivering just that.

So in celebration of his stellar career, I present my Fab Five Tony Scott Films. Rest in peace.

#5 – ‘The Last Boy Scout’

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“I want to hear you scream.” – Milo
“Play some rap music.” – Joe Hallenbeck

That’s just an example (one of the few clean ones) of the witty dialogue that can be found throughout this underappreciated buddy action flick starring Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans and Halle Berry. Buddy action movies were pretty common in the ’90s, but what made this film stand out from the others of its time was the brilliant script penned by acclaimed writer Shane Black. Black also wrote “Lethal Weapon” as well as other well-known action films and is writing and directing the new “Iron Man” movie. His dialogue for “The Last Boy Scout” is not only hilarious, but refreshingly vulgar. A film like this probably wouldn’t get made in today’s politically correct PG-13 world but back in the early ’90s, it felt real. How else would a private detective and an ex-football player talk?

Of course director Tony Scott helps bring the vibrant dialogue alive with his typically slick action pieces. I still remember the opening scene where Billy Blanks opens fire on a football field shocking me so much that I swear I had my mouth open for at least a minute as I tried to digest the violence. I was already sold.