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The Long Kiss Goodnight

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Long Kiss Goodnight

Starring: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Renny Harlin
Rated: R
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: October 1996
Genres: Action, Mystery


*Also starring: Alan North, G.D. Spradlin, Joseph McKenna, Melina Kanakaredes, Tom Amandes, Yvonne Zima, David Morse, Larry King



Review by Dragan Antulov
1½ stars out of 4

After CUTTHROAT ISLAND, one of the worst financial disasters in the recent history of Hollywood, Renny Harlin had to do something truly remarkable in order to salvage his reputation of dependable action film maker. For his next project, 1996 film THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, big talents were gathered - Shane Black, famous screenwriter of many 1980s action classics, got 4 million US$ for the script while Samuel L. Jackson, one of the "coolest" actors in 1990s Hollywood, got the important part.

The protagonist of the film is Samantha Caine (played by Geena Davis), modest schoolteacher who lives in small New England town with her 8-year old daughter. She is widely respected member of community, soon to be married, but one thing mars her otherwise perfect life - she doesn't know who she really is. Eight years ago she was found wounded, pregnant and in apparent state of amnesia from which she didn't recover through all those years. One night, a traffic accident starts to bring back some memories and in the same time third- class private investigator Mitch Hennessy (played by Samuel L. Jackson) finds some clues that lead to Samantha being connected with the more shadowy parts of US government. It turns out that Samantha used to be Charly Baltimore, top government assassin. Her former bosses are anything but pleased by her sudden reappearance so they send goons to make her disappear again, this time permanently. Because of that Samantha would need the help of her former self, a woman well-trained and quite capable to deal with such violent situations.

THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT is less an action movie than Renny Harlin's love letter to Geena Davis, his wife at the time. Almost every scene is centred around Davis' character who is portrayed either as embodiment of all feminine virtues or as killing machine capable of defeating even the mightiest of adversaries. Davis returns the favours by playing her dual role with gusto and personally taking part even in the most dangerous of stunts. THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT had plenty of those, which is hardly surprise for all those familiar with Renny Harlin as his tendency to stuff films with as much of spectacular explosions as possible, often at the expense of plausibility, common sense, plot and characterisation. Those flaws had to be corrected by Shane Black's script, but the only thing that stands out are the one-liners, many of them quite forgettable. Because of that, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, despite the intriguing opening, looks quite indistinguishable from many other Hollywood action blockbusters, including those who had gathered significantly less impressive talents. Despite all the pyrotechnics, slow-motion, one-liners and occasional entertaining moment or two, the audience would after a while be bored with endless display of the most notorious of all 1990s Hollywood cliches - characters outrunning fireball. THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT again proves that even the silliest entertainment can't be entertaining if their makers don't take their task at least a little bit more seriously.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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