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THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996-R)
Director Renny Harlin's "The Long Kiss Goodnight" is an entertaining fast paced, action-adventure tale that deals with memory (or lack of it) and self-discovery.
Promotional Line: "Eight years ago she
lost her memory.
The basic story is about a housewife and mother (Geena Davis) who can't remember her past life as a top government spy. After she is seen in her small New England town, a hi-tech army of corrupt government renegades tries to kill her. Samantha (Davis) teams up with a wise-cracking detective (Jackson) who helps her discover who, what, why, and WHO she really is.
The spectacular action scenes are 90% wonderful, if a bit farfetched. We wish they spent just a little more time on a handful. The action staging is first rate. There is plenty of violence, (rated R) maybe just a tad on the gory side in one or two scenes. But there is a high degree of suspense, tension, surprises, and humor to mellow it all out.
While this could have been a"chick movie," THE LONG KISS GOODBYE as written by Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON), is sort of a female James Bond type of film with family elements thrown in. It has some elements in common with "True Lies".
Davis and Jackson both seem to be perfectly cast, while Samantha's old boss (Brian Cox), does a wonderful job.
Geena Davis does a great job acting as the top government assassin who has lost her memory and started a new life in a small town, with a child and fiancee, working as a school teacher. At the beginning of the film, she starts to remember bits and pieces, puzzled when she discovers skills she didn't know she had through both everyday occurrences and dramatic events.
One such dramatic event is when a nasty killer-type, (One -eyed Jack), breaks into her home, hitting her fiancee, taking a shot at her daughter, and trying to kill her as well. She discovers she knows how to kill, when she gives the creep his just deserts in her kitchen.
Another great action scene happens at the train station, when Davis and Jackson are ambushed by more bad guys. This is a very well done, exciting action sequence, where they escape through a window, two steps ahead of a load of trouble and an explosive end. As they fly through the air, Jackson shoots a big hole in the ice covered water, so they could land safely. Her old boss rescues them and fills her in on some of the details.
Finally, Davis fully remembers who she was during the water torture she suffers at the hands of the bad guys. She was tied to a water wheel in an old barn, and was wheeled under freezing water, which jolts her memory. She escapes from this predicament, using formerly known knowledge and skills.
Samuel Jackson has never been better as a struggling private eye, that helped Davis discover her past. Though he has his flaws, he basically is a good man, and is a dependable and brave sidekick, who can think on his feet under pressure.
Other cast members include Patrick Malahide, Craig Bierko, Brian Cox, David Morse who all provide solid support.
The head bad guy, Craig Bierko, at the train station, who is probably the father of Samantha's daughter, talks to Geena at the train station before the ambush. He is incredibly handsome, cute and charming, and Geena doesn't recognize him at all. Unfortunately, this hunk of manhood shows himself to be a dastardly villain, turning into a big disappointment to this reviewer. (He made it up to me in his performance in "The Thirteenth Floor.") How can anyone who is so gorgeous to behold, be so bad?... some female viewers whine. He did a terrific job in his villainous role, playing an important role in this film.