"They boo my Cutthroat Island off the screens and this is a hit? Fine, next time I'll make it louder. "
- Director Renny Harlin, overheard by The Self-Made Critic at a showing of The Rock, June 9th, 1996
This one goes to 11.
Yes boys and girls. The comedy team of Harlin-Davis, fresh from their self-induced exile after the Cutthroat Island Fiasco, have gone deeper into the analysis of marriage with their latest joint venture, The Long Kiss Goodnight.
Don't sit in the first few rows if you can help it.
This movie, from a Shane Black script (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero) is about as torrid as you can get and not be made in Hong Kong. And with Harlin - the only man who can actually ask Shane Black to fit ANOTHER chase scene into the script - directing, you know you're in for a ride.
Where does it go? Well it's the dramatic tale of a CIA assassin who's had selective amnesia loss for eight years and is suddenly given back her memory and tossed into the fire. The plot is ... convenient. The fact that she gets her memory back and that she's hunted down like a dog by former targets are two separate issues that just happen to coincide. Which is a good thing, or the movie would be over in one scene as the unsuspecting housewife is gunned down from behind for no apparent reason. End of story.
But no, she also gets her memory back, and the talents she used to have but, for some reason, never displayed in the eight years before now.
Getting lost? Well so did I, and I usually don't get lost in a story unless there's at least four ex-lovers fighting for control over the baby.
So the story ain't the greatest. And for that matter, neither is the movie, but I will say this for it, it was a lot of fun.
The script is filled with great one-liners. And the superb cast, for the most part, delivers them well. Samuel Jackson steals the movie, again, as the private detective in over his head. His character was funny, exciting, and as bloody as Bruce Willis at the end of any Die Hard flick. There is also a great old guy whose name escapes me who is a joy to watch until he turns up, well, dead.
In fact, just about everyone in this thing turns up dead. There's a lot of killing in this one. A lot of gun play. Bullets fly off all over the place and, unlike most Hollywood movies, they hit people, and people die.
They also die violently some times, so you should be warned, people and moose alike find some very gruesome ends.
The movie hinges around Geena Davis, as the housewife/assassin. You know, someday, they're gonna just walk up to her and say, "Geena, you ain't no action hero. Stop it! " And she'll hang her head and pout but then go back to light comedy and become America's sweetheart again. But first she may have to divorce her husband, who's determined to be married to an action hero no matter the cost.
Actually, if this movie bombs, I hear the studios are putting in a No-Geena clause in his next contract.
Geena is as Geena does. She's much more likable before she gets her memory back, and kinda naughty as the spy. But the plot (here we go, back to plot-harping) hinges on a decision to go back to save the daughter, when ten minutes earlier she's telling us how she doesn't want the girl and doesn't care about her. So we're lacking some basic motherly motivation.
The stunts are out of sight, even if they are stolen. I swear I saw that X-mas light thing in a Jackie Chan movie, and most of the other stunts are ripped out of various blockbusters over the years.
But the final effect is fun. Don't bother bringing your brain to this one, leave it at home with a nice Shakespearean text and a cup of Earl Gray, this one's for the gut, for the spleen, and for the adrenaline.
And of course it goes to 11.
In all, I give The Long Kiss Goodnight 3 2/5 Babylon's. I wanted to give it 3 1/2, but that would have been wrong.
Sorry if this review seems a little scattered, The Self-Made Critic is fighting off the flu bug, and his thoughts process is slightly jumbled. In fact, he thought for the longest time that he was at a showing of The Long Day's Journey Into Night, and couldn't understand why Geena Davis was bludgeoning all those poor people.
Sorry for the confusion, but there's no refunds.