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Face-Off: Ridley Scott vs. Tony Scott

Jun. 7, 2012by: Paul Huffman
In an interesting turn of events in last weeks Face Off Michelle Pfeiffer was able to pull an upset against Charlize Theron by one vote. The woman still has it.

This week JoBlo is all about Prometheus. Everything under the sun related to the Alien franchise has been discussed this week and for this Face Off we'll be showing love to its director Ridley Scott. But the man has to go up against somebody, and what better then to throw him into a civil war with his brother Tony Scott. We'll be taking a look at their work through the decades and their quality as a Director as a whole. Let's get to it.
80's
In 1979 Ridley cemented himself as a legend with the first Alien. He followed that up with another film that become a classic in Blade Runner, a beautiful to look at dystopian film set in 2019 Los Angeles (we still have a few years lets make that LA happen). Ridley closed out the 80's with Legend, Someone to Watch Over Me, and Black Rain.

DECIDING FACTOR: Blade Runner. The film is no Alien, and while I agree with with what many of the critics said in it being a visually amazing movie that was lacking in the human element, something about it just worked. Its status isn't a fluke.
Tony Scott's came onto the field and scored a couple touchdowns in the 80's with Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II. I am a big fan of both films, and while some of Top Gun was unbelievably cheesy it still entertains the hell out of me. With Beverly Hills Cop nostalgia comes into play and reminds me of the Eddie Murphy we all miss. Before both of these Tony gave us his introduction with a horror film called The Hunger, a film I have yet to see.
90's
Ridley's home run in the 1990's was definitely his first time out in this decade with Thelma & Louise. A wonderful script, with a wonderful cast, with an ending that kicks you in the balls whether you have a pair or not. It got some major love and the Oscar's in its year, and deservedly so. From there his 90's took a downward spiral in my opinion with 1492, White Squall, and the abysmal G.I. Jane. Can't win em all Ridley, but can we count the man out? Pffft.
The 90's belonged to the younger Scott in my mind. The great buddy movie The Last Boy Scout, True Romance, Crimson Tide (his first of many collaborations with Denzel), and the criminally underrated Enemy of the State. Tony was no slouch in this decade with True Romance being the shining light, it was his 'Thelma & Louise'.
2000's
Ridley had a few misses in the 2000's. That said we have Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Matchstick Men, Kingdom of Heaven, American Gangster, Body of Lies, and of course I get the feeling Prometheus will also be on this "I'm Ridley F*cking Scott" list. I'll say that when I first saw Gladiator I couldn't appreciate, couldn't get into it...a second viewing changed all that, and with this film alone I think this decade easily goes to big brother. Oh and then there's the rumor of the planned Blade Runner sequel, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Spy Game. Man on Fire. Domino. Dj Vu. Taking of Pelham 123 remake. Unstoppable.

Man on Fire is the obvious stand out here if you ask me. The man has sniffed out some good material throughout his career, and I think this film may just be his masterpiece, didn't hurt that his frequent collaborator Denzel was there being Denzel. Tony's latest outing with Unstoppable left a lot to be desired, but I expect another Man on Fire from him soon.
Overall
Ridley Scott has given us more to remember throughout the years than forgettable missteps. He's shown that he can master films with a grand scale and bring his vision to it, while at the same time not disappointing when he goes for the character driven films like Thelma & Louise. Even his films of lesser quality blow a lot of the sh*t that comes out today out of the water. And while his present and future may be cashing in a couple classics he's made, he shows no signs of slowing down and hell I'll take it.
Tony Scott has shown his brother he can hang. A lot of his films, especially from the 90's, I hold in as high regard as I hold Ridley's films. Tony went out of his way throughout his career to adopt a totally different style of filmmaking and the projects he chose than that of his brother and it was a wise move that served him well. I'm more of a fan of what Ridley has been churning out the past couple years than Tony, but that's no reflection on the mans ability. Tony still has more to give us.
Ridley Scott
So there you have it, the Scott parents produced two wonderfully talented individuals but this week, Sir Ridley Scott came out on top. He has nothing short of a career to be proud of. Now the million dollar question, do you disagree with this weeks verdict? Is Tony's brand of film more your style? Let us know.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which director is your favourite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
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12:05AM on 06/08/2012

Spy Game

Extremely underrated film. Probably Robert Redfords last great leading role.
Extremely underrated film. Probably Robert Redfords last great leading role.
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10:16PM on 06/07/2012

Next up Ridley Scott vs. The World

Who else has both the consistency AND extensive catalog that Ridley has? Spielberg has been hit or miss since 'Last Crusade'...Scorsese's 90s were a blur after Cape Fear. And Quentin has made seven movies in 20 years.

Ridley Scott just makes good movies, that are often brilliant.


I even love G.I. Jane. Looks awesome, has the obligatory 'America Fuck Yeah' sequence at the end, and the character dynamic between Viggo and Demi is pitch perfect.
Who else has both the consistency AND extensive catalog that Ridley has? Spielberg has been hit or miss since 'Last Crusade'...Scorsese's 90s were a blur after Cape Fear. And Quentin has made seven movies in 20 years.

Ridley Scott just makes good movies, that are often brilliant.


I even love G.I. Jane. Looks awesome, has the obligatory 'America Fuck Yeah' sequence at the end, and the character dynamic between Viggo and Demi is pitch perfect.
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3:19PM on 06/07/2012
The Last Boyscout is the real 4th Die Hard if you ask me.
The Last Boyscout is the real 4th Die Hard if you ask me.
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2:56PM on 06/07/2012
Different strokes for different folks & no one can direct action like Tony Scott & some of his movies are my all time favs like True Romance, Man on Fire, BHC2, Top Gun & Crimson Tide.

Now what makes Ridley Scott a great director also is he has pretty much directed a movie in every single genre there is & while Prometheus is getting mixed reviews, I still wanna see for myself & judge them on my own. Just got all 4 Alien movies on Blu ray, so will watch those before.
Different strokes for different folks & no one can direct action like Tony Scott & some of his movies are my all time favs like True Romance, Man on Fire, BHC2, Top Gun & Crimson Tide.

Now what makes Ridley Scott a great director also is he has pretty much directed a movie in every single genre there is & while Prometheus is getting mixed reviews, I still wanna see for myself & judge them on my own. Just got all 4 Alien movies on Blu ray, so will watch those before.
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12:53PM on 06/07/2012
Agree with the verdict here. Its funny how I always thought True Romance was a Tarantino flick. Its definitely in my top 20 movies of all time. [link] and Gandolfini such an all star cast.
Agree with the verdict here. Its funny how I always thought True Romance was a Tarantino flick. Its definitely in my top 20 movies of all time. [link] and Gandolfini such an all star cast.
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12:58PM on 06/07/2012
Well you were always half right he did write it, and yes it had an excellent cast. The scene with Gandolfini and Arquette was so intense.
Well you were always half right he did write it, and yes it had an excellent cast. The scene with Gandolfini and Arquette was so intense.
12:00PM on 06/07/2012
It's a tie for me. They have both directed my favorite films in Alien, Top Gun, Man on Fire, Body of Lies, and Kingdom of Heaven.
It's a tie for me. They have both directed my favorite films in Alien, Top Gun, Man on Fire, Body of Lies, and Kingdom of Heaven.
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11:43AM on 06/07/2012
Ridley wins for just Alien and Gladiator alone.. two titans of filmmaking that are miles above anything Tony ever directed (and I like A LOT of his movies).
Ridley wins for just Alien and Gladiator alone.. two titans of filmmaking that are miles above anything Tony ever directed (and I like A LOT of his movies).
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11:35AM on 06/07/2012

Ridley Scott--the end

Alien, The Duellists, Blade Runner, Legend, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Whit Squall (underrated as hell), Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Matchstick Men, Kingdom Of Heaven (DC), A Good Year (underrated as hell), American Gangster, Body Of Lies, no contest whatsoever.

Tony's got the energy (Man On Fire, True Romance, Crimson Tide), but Ridley's got the vision, energy, and the talent.

Ridley Scott is a master filmmaker and visual artistry alone he's on another planet.
Alien, The Duellists, Blade Runner, Legend, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Whit Squall (underrated as hell), Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Matchstick Men, Kingdom Of Heaven (DC), A Good Year (underrated as hell), American Gangster, Body Of Lies, no contest whatsoever.

Tony's got the energy (Man On Fire, True Romance, Crimson Tide), but Ridley's got the vision, energy, and the talent.

Ridley Scott is a master filmmaker and visual artistry alone he's on another planet.
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10:51AM on 06/07/2012

It'd be a tie for me too

I can't think of a favorite of each I have because I enjoy so many of them. For Tony, it'd be Man on Fire probably. For Ridley, I'll tell ya' my answer by the end of Friday (wink,wink)...
I can't think of a favorite of each I have because I enjoy so many of them. For Tony, it'd be Man on Fire probably. For Ridley, I'll tell ya' my answer by the end of Friday (wink,wink)...
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9:49AM on 06/07/2012
I admire Tony Scott's insistence in making movies his way. But at best his movies are simple entertainments, and at worst migraine-inducing. Crimson Tide may or may not be my favorite of his, but it's the film I think comes closest to transcending the popcorn genre work he is known for. Ridley on the other hand, has made a number of genuine classics. And no one knows how to establish an environment the way he does.
I admire Tony Scott's insistence in making movies his way. But at best his movies are simple entertainments, and at worst migraine-inducing. Crimson Tide may or may not be my favorite of his, but it's the film I think comes closest to transcending the popcorn genre work he is known for. Ridley on the other hand, has made a number of genuine classics. And no one knows how to establish an environment the way he does.
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+3
9:35AM on 06/07/2012
Greatness runs in the family... that's all I can say.

Awesome face-off Paul!
Greatness runs in the family... that's all I can say.

Awesome face-off Paul!
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9:06AM on 06/07/2012
To me, it's a tie. They know how to make movies in their own ways. My favorite of Ridley: Black Rain. Tony: Spy Game.
To me, it's a tie. They know how to make movies in their own ways. My favorite of Ridley: Black Rain. Tony: Spy Game.
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8:57AM on 06/07/2012
To me, it's a tie. They know how to make movies in their own ways. My favorite of Ridley: Black Rain. Tony: Spy Game.
To me, it's a tie. They know how to make movies in their own ways. My favorite of Ridley: Black Rain. Tony: Spy Game.
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7:45AM on 06/07/2012

good face-off

Ridley deserve the win since his filmography in general is more impressive but damn if Tony Scott hasnt made some of my favorite films of all time (True Romance, Man on Fire, Last Boy Scout).
Ridley deserve the win since his filmography in general is more impressive but damn if Tony Scott hasnt made some of my favorite films of all time (True Romance, Man on Fire, Last Boy Scout).
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7:35AM on 06/07/2012
Both brothers have a handful of classic movies and I think there's only 2 or 3 Tony Scott films that I don't own.
Both brothers have a handful of classic movies and I think there's only 2 or 3 Tony Scott films that I don't own.
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7:13AM on 06/07/2012

Ridley Scott

Tony Scott's greatest film was True Romance and while his aesthetic touch is all over that movie, the heart of it is QT. The Last Boy Scout is a guilty pleasure as well. However, ultimately Ridley has made some simply superb films, no equivocation necessary.
Tony Scott's greatest film was True Romance and while his aesthetic touch is all over that movie, the heart of it is QT. The Last Boy Scout is a guilty pleasure as well. However, ultimately Ridley has made some simply superb films, no equivocation necessary.
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6:24AM on 06/07/2012
Shouldn't you let us vote to see who the winner is and have the write offer his opinion?
Shouldn't you let us vote to see who the winner is and have the write offer his opinion?
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6:23AM on 06/07/2012
I give it to Tony Scott, True Romance is my all time favorite movie and I love Man on Fire, Enemy of the State, Spy Games, Safe House, and i did like Unstoppable a lot too.
I give it to Tony Scott, True Romance is my all time favorite movie and I love Man on Fire, Enemy of the State, Spy Games, Safe House, and i did like Unstoppable a lot too.
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8:52AM on 06/07/2012
Safe House?
Safe House?
4:58AM on 06/07/2012
Wow. I never would've seen THIS win coming...
Wow. I never would've seen THIS win coming...
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4:52AM on 06/07/2012
Interesting face-off; the brothers are very different directors and it's interesting to explore the ways that they're different. I think Tony Scott's work is more commercial and accessible while Ridley is more of an artist. I'm a big fan of Tony Scott's Enemy of the State, that was a cool techno-thriller done right.
Interesting face-off; the brothers are very different directors and it's interesting to explore the ways that they're different. I think Tony Scott's work is more commercial and accessible while Ridley is more of an artist. I'm a big fan of Tony Scott's Enemy of the State, that was a cool techno-thriller done right.
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-16
3:46AM on 06/07/2012

And I'm sorry...

But there's one scene in Man on Fire I can't get over. Why was it necessary to put the bomb in that dude's ass while he was passed out? He could have put that bomb ANYWHERE. In the car. On the hood next to his head. Taped to his head. Dude's hands were tied. Not like he could have done anything if it was right in front of him. It just all seemed so unnecessary.
But there's one scene in Man on Fire I can't get over. Why was it necessary to put the bomb in that dude's ass while he was passed out? He could have put that bomb ANYWHERE. In the car. On the hood next to his head. Taped to his head. Dude's hands were tied. Not like he could have done anything if it was right in front of him. It just all seemed so unnecessary.
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-9
3:42AM on 06/07/2012

Also...

Unstoppable sucked. So much. Speed - the/a villian + another lead = does not make a good movie.
Unstoppable sucked. So much. Speed - the/a villian + another lead = does not make a good movie.
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3:00PM on 06/07/2012
i disagree & found myself glued to the screen, Tony Scott are known for action not acting.
i disagree & found myself glued to the screen, Tony Scott are known for action not acting.
4:59AM on 06/07/2012
Indeed Unstoppable was terrible. They did the shaky quick cuts during a mundane conversation between Pine and Washington within the first 15 minutes. They weren't even on a train. Just standing beside one.
Indeed Unstoppable was terrible. They did the shaky quick cuts during a mundane conversation between Pine and Washington within the first 15 minutes. They weren't even on a train. Just standing beside one.
+1
3:40AM on 06/07/2012

Any respect I had for Tony Scott for True Romance...

he lost with Taking of Pelham 123. No one notices that there are random car crashes in there that don't serve the plot in any way other than to have a random car crash scene?
he lost with Taking of Pelham 123. No one notices that there are random car crashes in there that don't serve the plot in any way other than to have a random car crash scene?
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3:04AM on 06/07/2012
You know what would have been interesting? If Tony Scott directed an Alien sequel. Wonder why that never happened?

Good face-off.
You know what would have been interesting? If Tony Scott directed an Alien sequel. Wonder why that never happened?

Good face-off.
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4:57AM on 06/07/2012
Green tinted shaky cam aliens. No thanks.
Green tinted shaky cam aliens. No thanks.
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