Saturday, December 23, 2017

Movie Review: "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996)

Director: Renny Harlin
Year: 1996
Rating: NR
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes

A teacher with amnesia is confronted by her mysterious and dangerous past when she appears as the belle of a local Christmas parade. After footage of her gets on TV, old enemies who thought she was dead come to find her.

A deadly assassin with amnesia who has to unravel the mystery of their past and face off against the government agency they once worked for. Of course, we are talking about "The Bourne Identity," ...wait, actually, we're not. We are talking about a movie that came out six years before "The Bourne Identity," and that is "The Long Kiss Goodnight." This film is written by the Christmas-obsessed Shane Black, who is known for writing and/or directing films like "Lethal Weapon," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," and "The Nice Guys." It is directed by Renny Harlin, who has helmed action movies such as "Die Hard 2," "Cliffhanger," and "Cutthroat Island." The film stars Geena Davis as Samantha Caine, a school teacher who can't remember anything before eight years ago. She has a daughter and a live-in boyfriend and leads a normal life. All that changes after she is seen on television in a Christmas parade by some old enemies, bringing danger right to her front door. Samantha has also recently been in a car accident, which starts to unlock a few past memories and unknown skills. Now, with the help of a private investigator named Mitch Hennessey, played by Samuel L. Jackson, she tries to unravel the mystery of her past, who she is, and why people are trying to kill her.

Quite a few of Shane Black's movies take place during the Christmas holiday. Either he really loves Christmas or he hates it considering all of these films are action movies with plenty of bullets, blood, and death. That's exactly what we get with "The Long Kiss Goodnight." This is an action-packed "who am I?" mystery that has its fair share of witty one-liners and a bit of goofiness as well. One question this movie asks is, how well can Geena Davis carry an action flick as the lead? She does a decent enough job and her 6-foot frame gives her the proper imposing stature of an action badass. That being said, there is something about her personality that doesn't have a hard enough center like Sigourney Weaver in "Alien" and its sequels or Linda Hamilton in "Terminator 2." Samuel L. Jackson is as hilarious as always, offering up numerous quips with his ever-present charm that almost always hit their comedic mark. Davis and Jackson have fantastic chemistry as partners. The story itself is a bit ridiculous and a little unbelievable. It can be contrived at times, but this still winds up being a fun popcorn action flick. How can you hate a movie where the protagonist ice skates after a car to gun down the driver? That's right, you can't.

If you're into circumstantial Christmas movies with lots of chases, blood, and torture, "The Long Kiss Goodnight" is the film for you.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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