Direction: I think Renny Harlin is one of the best action directors of our time. He has proven himself with such successful movies like “Cliffhanger”, “Deep Blue Sea” and “Die Hard 2”. Even though I think he has lost his way from time to time with such terrible outings like “Cutthroat Island” and the more-than-awful “Driven”, I believe he still has a couple more aces in him. As for “The Long Kiss Goodnight”, we are given the standard Harlin treatment which revolves around larger than life explosions and finding more innovative ways to kill people. This time, his style is supported with a solidly witty script that turns this movie into a very entertaining two hours.
Acting/Characters: The loveable Geena Davis brings the innocent and sweet Samantha character and her real personality, the tough and somewhat psychotic Charlie with great devotion and succeeds in coming up with exquisite performances for both of them while managing not to crumble under the impossibilities of the script. As for Samuel L. Jackson who plays Mitch Hennesy, the loser detective who comes up with the best one liners all throughout the movie is, I think, the sole reason to at least rent this movie. I have to admit, when it first came out in 1996, I was a Samuel L. Jackson fan and I went to see this movie just because of him and boy, was I not disappointed! Starting from the unforgettable “Rye and dye” line up to the incredibly funny “Earnest and Frank” bit, Jackson manages to save this movie from being completely forgettable just by himself and in my eyes, raises its value from being rentable to purchaseable just by his presence. This guy rocks!!
The Movie: As you might have guessed, I have only one major beef with this movie and that is its never ending quest for somewhat involving an emotional content while trying to make it survive in the middle of all its campiness and “all for one-liners” attitude. It doesn’t fit the movie and normally I wouldn’t have a problem with it but some of it goes on too long (like the scene where Samantha’s daughter comes back to her). I think in action movies like this , it is more suitable to sacrifice one or the other. Either you go for the all-out slam bang approach or you try to create a form of sympathy for your characters by upgrading its realism a notch (which doesn’t exist in this movie). But other than that, I think “The Long Kiss Goodnight” is one kick-ass ride filled with nicely executed action scenes and some incredibly funny lines (most of which come out of the great Sam Jackson) and it’s definitely worth of at least a rental that is, if you haven’t already seen it in the past six years in which it has been in circulation.
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