His career was varied and productive, not unlike his (perhaps) better known brother Ridley Scott. Unlike his brother, however, Tony Scott’s films never quite achieved the higher critical reaction that his brother Ridley received for at least two of his films, Alien and Blade Runner.
Nonetheless, Tony Scott was behind the director’s chair for such commercial -if not always critical- hits like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, Spy Game, and, most recently, the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 and Unstoppable. The films mentioned above were all, in my opinion, reasonably popular entertainment, but I suspect there are few who would all or even most “classics” that will stand the test of time.
Of these, the two that I find the most intriguing are Enemy of the State and Spy Game. These two films, along with the Michael Bay directed The Rock, formed a trilogy of “pseudo” sequels to very famous films. As a great bonus they also featured the same actors playing very similar roles to their more famous original films. In the case of The Rock, for example, it was clear Sean Connery was playing an older James Bond. In the film he was described as a top British spy who had run afoul of -and was betrayed by- the people he worked for. A relic of the Cold War. Enemy of the State featured Gene Hackman reprising his role from the Francis Ford Coppola classic The Conversation, while Spy Game featured Robert Redford reprising his character from Three Days of the Condor. While none of these pseudo sequels rose to the level of the originals, I felt it was an intriguing idea and made for some entertaining, if not quite classic, films.
Of the films Tony Scott directed, I personally consider The Hunger and True Romance his two “best” films. When originally released, The Hunger was way ahead of its time, a romantic/erotic vampire story that was much more influential on what followed than it was successful upon its release. True Romance, which featured a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, proved an entertaining and very wild ride, with a large cast of actors doing some great work.
While I don’t consider myself a huge fan of Tony Scott’s overall body of work, there is no denying that for the past several decades his presence has most certainly been felt. His death comes as a shock and one can’t help but wonder what might have come next.
The other day I picked up a bargain BluRay disc featuring two Bruce WIllis films, Last Man Standing and the Tony Scott directed The Last Boy Scout. The one and only time I saw The Last Boy Scout was when it was originally released back in 1991. Back then I didn’t think all that much of it but nonetheless recalled one bit of dialogue between Bruce WIllis’ character and a police detective/ex-friend. If memory serves (and it certainly might not!) Willis’ character’s wife left him for that now ex-friend and the meeting was salty, painful, yet surprisingly down to earth.
Perhaps I’ll revisit it when I get a chance.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Scott. While not all your films were my cup of tea, considering all the works you were involved in, you nonetheless provided me with hours of entertainment.
In the end, what more could anyone ask?