The Long Kiss Goodnight Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997


My name is Samantha Caine, at least I think it is. You might not believe it to look at me, but I was born only eight years ago on a beach in New Jersey. I entered the world fully-grown and wearing clothes I don't remember buying. In the back pocket, a single key, filed blank and faceless. A fitting metaphor, but otherwise no help whatsoever.

Director Renny Harlin has made up for the "Cutthroat Island" fiasco with this campy action-movie that doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. Samantha (Geena Davis) is a mousy soft-spoken school teacher who suffers from amnesia. Everything before eight years prior is a blank. She has a daughter, Caitlin, and a boyfriend, but she still seeks answers, with several private detectives on her payroll to find answers. One of the detectives, Mitch Hennessey (Samuel Jackson), is a low-rent dick who uses scams to maintain his cash flow. He stumbles onto some clues that may help Samantha in her quest. However, she is involved in a car accident and gets a nasty bump on the head, and memories and skills begin to re-emerge. When a man comes to the house to try and kill her, she decides to go on the road with Mitch to find the truth about who she was before. As they run into assorted criminal types, government conspiracies and a suave villain (Craig Bierko) who wants her dead, Samantha transforms back into her former personality, Charly, a pistol-packing-chain-smoking-knife-throwing-ass-kicking government assassin in the vein of "La Femme Nikita", out to finish the job she started eight years ago.

Mommy, are we gonna die?
Oh no... no baby... you're not going to die. They are!
Stop being a little baby and get up!
I can't skate anymore... my wrist hurts!
Life is pain! Get used to it! See, you will skate all the way to shore princess and you will not fall again. Am I understood?

Even though this was a dumb action movie with plot contrivances (in a scene where Charly/Samantha must light some gasoline to escape from a freezer, Caitlin CONVENIENTLY pulls out a book of matches from her wrist cast; when Mitchell and Charly/Samantha jump out of the top floor of a train station, they CONVENIENTLY land on a frozen lake) and clichés galore, I enjoyed it because it was so campy, with lots of really bad lines (either a sign of genius to be able to satirically deconstruct the creatively-bankrupt paradigms of the action movie, or a sign of really bad writing).

Jesus old man! How many of these things you got?
Three... one shoulder, one hip, and one right next to Mr. Wally. Most patdowns never reveal it since most agents are reluctant to feel up another man's groin. Any other questions?
Yeah... what's the weather like on your planet?

The action sequences require an absolute suspension of disbelief, with TWO instances of Mitchell and Charly/Samantha outrunning explosions (once on foot in a train station and the second in a car trying to stay ahead of a chemical bomb explosion on the Peace Bridge at Niagara Falls). Despite the lack of a basis in reality, the sequences are well done, with lots of slo-mo gunplay and car chases.

We jumped out of a building!
Yes, it was very exciting. Tomorrow we go to the zoo.
How'd you find us?
... I found the address in your coat. Here... between the address of the topless bar and the picture of what looks like a man's penis.
That's a duck, not a dick!

No, you won't find any deep meaning in this movie. But maybe a good laugh.


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