Saturday, October 26, 2013

Last Man Standing / The Last Boy Scout (Action Double Feature) (2010)

Last Man Standing / The Last Boy Scout2 of my most favorite guilty pleasures are only better on blu ray(duh....); Both are films that generally went overlooked in many ways w/the exception of the fanbases for each; Boyscout def has the edge humor-wise(an actual great 'buddy' picture....Damon Wayans is very funny, & Shane Black can write a wicked screenplay....), but visually, Last Man Standing has the edge. Detailed and crisp, it is how this movie was made to be seen. And the gun sounds are even more amazing here. Walter Hill has generally been overlooked as a filmmaker I think, and while some people thought this was a little 'slow', I had no problem w/the pacing. Ry Cooder scores this movie perfectly too...

This is a great disc of 2 classic, lesser seen Bruce Willis movies, each of which contain lots and lots of welcome familiar faces. I know many times these 'double feature' discs stick a lemon w/something decent, but in this case(in my opinion...), you kill 2 birds with one stone...2 modern 'classics' on one!

Now if they can only find something to pair The Long Kiss Goodnight up with.....

This Blu-Ray transfer is excellent! Years ago, when I bought The Last Boyscout on DVD, I was very disappointed. The picture quality was horrible. It was very grainy. It was better to just watch it on a VHS tape. The DVD quality was that bad. (If you ever bought The Last Boyscout on DVD, you know what I'm talking about!) So, I'm glad that this Blu-Ray edition of The Last Boyscout finally gives the movie justice in terms of picture quality.

The movie itself -if you are a Bruce Willis fan, or an action fan in general, and for whatever reason that you haven't watched this yet -go buy this movie! It's an excellent action movie that I have watched over and over!

Buy Last Man Standing / The Last Boy Scout (Action Double Feature) (2010) Now

Bruce Willis has had the profound good luck to star in some of the greatest American action films of all time, including its single greatest: the first DIE HARD. And this paved the way for Willis to become one of the biggest film stars of the 1990's, and for better (PULP FICTION, THE SIXTH SENSE, the other two DIE HARD 90's films) or worse (THE COLOR OF NIGHT, STRIKING DISTANCE, MORTAL THOUGHTS, FOUR ROOMS), he was king. The two films in this Blu-ray double feature represent his best 90's action works: THE LAST BOY SCOUT and LAST MAN STANDING.

THE LAST BOY SCOUT is another film in the mismatched buddy-cop actioner genre from writer Shane Black, who set the perfect blueprint for the genre with LETHAL WEAPON, slightly misstepped it with THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT and injected fresh and wonderful life back into it with the woefully underseen KISS KISS, BANG BANG. But what's different about the mismatched pair here is one of them is a former Secret Service agent turned alcoholic loser deadbeat private eye (Willis) and the other is a former star quarterback turned gambling addict and coke-fiend (Damon Wayans)... neither of them are cops. But they're losers who are down on their luck that, despite themselves, find redemption as they take on corrupt government officials and sleazy, murderous sports executives. Both of the men that they seek to bring down are both involved in their respective falls from grace, so they look to dish out a heaping helping of cold-served revenge... until a wonderful plot twist has one of them protecting the very person who ruined his life.

Tony Scott, prior to this film, had long been determined as an untalented, coat-tail riding hack whose flashy MTV-style of filmmaking used with such films as TOP GUN and BEVERLY HILLS COP 2 seemed to serve 30-second commercials better than a feature film. However, he proves that with the right script and the right players, from Noble Willingham and Taylor Negron to Chelsea Field and Bruce McGill and a before-she-was-famous Halle Berry, you can make a really great film. Ultimately it was the success of this film

Yes, there are logic-holes that you could fly a 747 through (How does Willis afford such a beautiful home with his barely-solvent business?), and the film may not be up to par with the dramatic performances of a Merchant-Ivory film, but as pure adrenalinizing popcorn fare, it's perfect. Black's one-liners zing back and forth, Scott keeps a healthy tempo going, and it has the benefit of Willis playing one of the coolest action heroes ever. His character is probably a little too cool for a sense of realism, but that is NOT what this film is going for. It goes for mythical cool, by telling a tale of redemption of two fallen heroes in the snappiest and most entertaining way possible.

Now, onto LAST MAN STANDING. This film is another remake of the legendary film YOJIMBO from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa with legendary actor Toshiro Mifune as a ronin, or masterless Samurai, who reluctantly helps to bring order to a town with two warring gangs in feudal Japan. The first remake of the film was legendary directory Sergio Leone's A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS with legendary actor Clint Eastwood as a gunslinger-for-hire who reluctantly helps bring order to a town with two warring gangs in the Old West. Now, Walter Hill, director of such classics as 48 HRS. and THE WARRIORS brings Willis as a former mob gun-for-hire who reluctantly helps bring order to the dusty desert town of Jericho, that happens to have two warring mobs in the late 1920's. The film isn't jam-packed with action, but when you get the action, you really are slammed with it. The film also features Christopher Walken as the town's crazed main gun for hire (Walken playing a crazed and violent man? What are the odds?), WARRIORS and 48 HRS. alum David Patrick Kelly as the head of the town's Irish mob, Michael Imperioli as the idiotic cousin of the head of the town's Italian mob, Bruce Dern as the sleazy and amoral town sheriff and William Sanderson as the the heart-of-gold town barkeep. Willis gives a very understated, quiet cool performance that is pretty quip-free. But when he pulls out those twin .45's, you better run for cover. There is a spectacular shootout near the climax that is just awesome. And Ry Cooder's rock/blues infused score is a highlight as well.

As a director, Hill had a series of missteps like BREWSTER'S MILLIONS, STREETS OF FIRE, RED HEAT and ANOTHER 48 HRS., but LAST MAN STANDING stands out as one of his strongest films, alongside his biggest successes and some of his other seriously underrated films, like WILD BILL and JOHNNY HANDSOME.

Overall, this is a double-bill that features Willis in his prime as an action hero and major film star, and it doesn't hurt that both films are terrific.

Warner Bros. Blu-Ray films can really vary in quality. Most of their Blu-Rays are very good, and some are very poor as far as additional content and the lack of lossless audio, which is part of the standard of Blu-Ray discs. Sadly, this is one of the examples of the latter. This disc does NOT have lossless audio. Watching THE LAST BOY SCOUT, every now and then, I can hear my player (and it's not an issue with the player or physical issues with the disc) rev up and there's a slight audio skip. It's doesn't terribly detract from the experience, but it doesn't help, despite the very crisp picture.

Still terrific films, but it does have audio issues that might make more of a surround sound setup owner think twice before getting this.

Read Best Reviews of Last Man Standing / The Last Boy Scout (Action Double Feature) (2010) Here

This double bill (just like in the old days) features Bruce Willis with two of his 1990s hits, "Last Boy Scout" (1991) and "Last Man Standing" (1996). The films share not only Bruce and the word "last" in the title but they also share the 90s style action film genre.

"Last Boy Scout" is the better of the pair, a 5 star flick, with good action, some of the snappiest dialogue you'll ever hear in films, a cute little girl who steals the show, and an over-the-top ending filled with death, destruction, and fireworks. There's even a little sex, with such hot ladies as Halle Berry and Chelsea Field. Add to that some great performances from Bruce Willis, his partner Damon Wayans, Danielle Harris as Willis' little girl, Noble Willingham as Wayans' sleazy ex-boss, and Taylor Negron as the dangerous Mr. Milo. Really a classic 5 star flick that shouldn't be missed.

"Last Man Standing" is a remake of Yojimbo, one of the best films ever. Japanese and American films are often interchangeable, as we see from "The Seven Samaruai" (1954) and "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) or from "Rashomon" (1950) to "Outrage" (1964), but this works best when the remake is a Western as the gun slinger is more compatible with the samurai. Thus the Yojimbo remake as "A Fistfull of Dollars" was a better version of Yojimbo than the current film, "Last Man Standing."

If "Last Man Standing" is not as good as "Yojimbo" or "A Fistfull of Dollars" it nonetheless has its compelling moments. Good performances from Bruce Dern as a corrupt Sheriff and Christopher Walken as an assassin help the rather dour plot, but Willis' personality, copied from Mifune and Eastwood, just doesn't work when the film is transplanted into Prohibition.

Think of this package as getting a great film with an OK film thrown in. My 5 star rating is for "Boy Scout" and I'd have to give "Last Man Standing" a 3.

Want Last Man Standing / The Last Boy Scout (Action Double Feature) (2010) Discount?

Since everyone else has already provided their summaries of the storyline, their opinions on the acting and everything else, I will, as I always do, only focus upon the quality of the transfer of this film to Blu Ray.

Not sure why other reviewers have said these film's audio is lossy, they are not. Both utilized DTS HD MA 5.1 audio which I will come back to later.

Very important for you to know that this collection does not consist of two separate discs...both movies are on a single blu ray disc.

Last Man Standing

VIDEO....not the cleanest transfer you will ever find, but not the dirtiest either. There is some noticeable film grain, and a general loss of detail in the darker areas. Overall, the color grading is very warm, almost orange which I suppose is typical of what directors want to see when a film takes place in a dust bowl environment. Mbps rate averages in the mid 20's. The amount of DNR is also noticeable in skin close ups where you can easily see the smoothing out of features. In early scenes there is also a lack of detail in the grassy plains area as well as the street that Bruce Willis drives into to start the film. Despite these faults, it's still an enjoyable viewing of Willis's lesser known films and retains its legs despite the years.

AUDIO...the lossless DTS HD MA 5.1 audio is not demo worthy but it is not terribly bad either. Most all the audio is nicely spread across the front stage with several instances of discreet channeling to the right and left sides. There is some, not much, channeling to the rears but don't expect a whole lot. The audio levels are just fine and the dialogue is easy to understand with good transient response. The sub gets put to work with many of the gunshots throughout the film.

The Last Boy Scout

VIDEO....This film is representative of the many early buddy cop films and does not hold up quite as well as it has aged but it was still an enjoyable enough film. The video transfer to blu ray is certainly not a remaster but was probably just re-encoded for blu ray. There is a goodly amount of grain throughout the film and a crushing of the blacks far too much taking out much of the details in the shadow and darker scenes. Though I do not have this film on Standard Definition, I doubt there would be much of an improvement between it and this Blu Ray version. I saw no artifacting or dirt in any part of the film and it played just fine. Never the less, if you already have the film on standard DVD, do not expect a whole lot of difference.

AUDIO...The DTS HD MA 5.1 audio was surprisingly good. No need to reset your remote's volume control as the levels were fine between dialogue, foley and soundtracks. There was some nice panning between the front and rear stages as well as some unexpected directionality to the rears with foley fx.

EXTRAS...There were no extras for either film. Each film has an old static graphic with play, scene and language set up in addition to going to the other film.

All my reviews focus solely on the quality of the transfers to Blu Ray of both video and audio and I do hope that this review has been of some help to you in deciding upon your purchase decisions and that I am on the correct path with this type of review.

Thanks for reading.

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