Tony Scott


Tony Scott, legendary film director and brother of Ridley, died last night.

I am deeply saddened by the news as Tony Scott was one of my favorite directors. I have a very short list of directors that I follow; Michael Bay, David Fincher, and Tony Scott – and while they might not be the greatest directors (in Fincher’s case he might be) they are consistent in putting out enjoyable content. (To put this in context; Spielberg is not on the list; Ridley Scott is not on the list, nor are the likes of Tim Burton or Kevin Smith or Scorsese all of whom are great filmmakers… but they have highs and lows or a inconsistency which prevents them from being must-watch-every-film status – for me anyway).

Looking back at Scott’s career – there are many highlights – here are five of his best and my favorites:

Top Gun – what more can I say that hasn’t been said before. While it is easy to poke fun at, or alternatively wax lyrical on how great it is – Top Gun will always be remembered. Jaws created the “Summer Blockbuster” in 1975, Star Wars became a phenomenon in ’77, it took until 1986 for Top Gun to redefine the “Summer Action Blockbuster” experience. When the movie and the soundtrack became part of the zeitgeist of the time. I must have seen Top Gun more times than any other movie (with the single exception of Back To The Future) and each time it is just amazing how well it stands the test of time – despite it being so grounded in the 80’s. It will forever be a classic piece of Americana (directed by a Brit!).

The Last Boy Scout – Shooting from a classic Shane Black script, The Last Boy Scout is incredibly enjoyable popcorn buddy movie starring Bruce Willis as a down and out private detective with no friends, a screwed up family, and little prospect of redemption until he meets Damon Wayans. Set against a backdrop of gambling corruption in Football, action and witty quipping ensues. This is Bruce Willis’ best performance of his career (yes, better than Die Hard, but not by much). Damon Wayans manages to put in a better than average performance too.

Spy Game – Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in the CIA. The pitch is simple and utterly amazing. The script is clever; and Scott is able to adeptly cover the Langley talking heads with as much style as he does covering the action. The acting is top-notch and at no point does the script or Scott try to pander to the lowest common denominator (of viewers). This is Scott’s best film in my opinion.

Man on Fire – At this point; Denzel Washington had only worked with Scott once before (on Crimson Tide and they would go on to work together three more times after this). Set, and shot in Mexico City, there is a feeling of real grit and danger present in nearly every scene. Washington is a fine actor and does great work here as a man with nothing left to live for. The action is brutal at times but adeptly handled by Scott.

The last spot on my list goes to:

Enemy of the State – a pseudo continuation of The Conversation – “Enemy” is a high-tech thrill ride which showcases Scott’s slick and stylised version of the world perhaps better than any other (film). It is a stellar cast; Will Smith, Gene Hackman, John Voight, Philip Baker Hall, Tom Sizemore and with Seth Green, Jason Lee and Jack Black in early roles. While it might not be one of Scott’s best movies it is an extremely well made popcorn flick.

Other notable works: True Romance, Crimson Tide, Beverly Hills Cop II and many others.

It goes without saying that my sympathies go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

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