The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
  • Time: 121 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
  • Director: Renny Harlin
  • Cast: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima


Samantha Caine, suburban homemaker, is the ideal mom to her 8 year old daughter Caitlin. She lives in Honesdale, PA, has a job teaching school and makes the best Rice Krispie treats in town. But when she receives a bump on her head, she begins to remember small parts of her previous life as a lethal, top-secret agent. Her old chums in the Chapter are now out to kill her so she enlists the help of a cheap detective named Mitch. As Samantha remembers more and more of her previous life, she becomes deadlier and more resourceful. Both Mitch and Charly proceed to do the killing thing, the bleeding thing and the shooting thing.

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  • Undeterred by the commercial disappointment of “Cutthroat Island”, Geena Davis is back in the action mold, this time as a plain jane school teacher who, while struggling with focal retrogade amnesia (and with the help of private investigator Samuel l. Jackson) discovers she used to be a CIA assassin. Life goes topsy-turvy as she endeavors to dig up as much as she can on her former self, while certain members of the CIA (including the unexpectedly effective bad-guy Craig Bierko) would like her quietly swept under the rug, for good. Brian Cox also turns in a standout (albeit brief) performance as the governmental link that gets Davis’ investigative ball rolling.

    “The Long Kiss Goodnight” begins with the makings for a riveting psychological thriller, with Davis’ inner turmoil as her bad-girl killer struggles to take over. But this eventually gives way to the explosions and shoot-’em-up of a Shane Black action movie. And while it’s a pretty good actioner, it never quite delivers on the promise of that more meaty first half.

    To her great credit, Davis is an able action star, athletic and ready to kick ass. She sells the role of the cold-blooded assassin, but she’s actually much better as the more likable frumpy homemaker. She has “Mom” written all over her (if you believe the Internet, she wouldn’t have her first child until at least five years after this was released).

    But it’s Samuel L. Jackson who makes off with this movie like a bandit. His wry sense of humor and on-target delivery provides the likable anchor to the movie, and he sinks his teeth right in (an even better performance than we saw in “Die Hard With a Vengeance”, one year prior).


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