The Long Kiss Goodnight

Long_kiss_poster “You know, back when we first met, you were all like ‘Oh phooey, I burned the darn muffins.’ Now, you go into a bar and ten minutes later sailors come runnin’ out. What up with that?”

The Scoop: 1996 R, directed by Renny Harlin and starring Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Craig Bierko.

Tagline:Eight years ago she lost her memory. Now, a detective must help her remember the past before it buries them both. What’s forgotten is not always gone.

Summary Capsule: An amnesiac housewife discovers her secret agent past with the help of a private investigator and a lot of bullets.

Kym’s Rating: Three and a half out of four awe-inspiring explosions

Kym’s Review: I thoroughly enjoyed watching this movie. The main reason why: because I love movies where women get to kick ass. It’s rare to find movies where women get to be the heroines and I enjoy watching them when I can. In this movie Geena Davis plays a suburban mother with amnesia who finds out that she’s really a government assassin. This movie was packed with really cool action scenes, even if not all of them are exactly what you would call believable. I did think, however, that Davis’ performance was top-notch. She not only pulled off the part of Charley Baltimore, but she did a wonderful job of portraying the struggle that took place as Charley started to emerge. Davis performed almost all of the stunts in this film and I was much impressed. Great action movie with a good plot that most should find enjoyable.

Justin’s Rating: A toast to Kym, may her assassin nature rest in peace!

Justin’s Review: This being my second attempt at reviewing The Long Kiss Goodnight, I just realized that my original review was one of the first ever posted to MRFH back in 1997. A lot has changed to my movie tastes (some correctly assume they’ve gotten worse), but this jacked-up action flick remains a pleasure, guilt-free and kicking. Sure, it’s been hated by movie critics for being so… what’s the word? … nincompoopy (a phrase Leonard Maltin uses with impudence). I find the argument that LKG has over-the-top action sequences and unbelievable plot development a sham, since (a) the public has been swallowing that James Bond swill for years, and there’s nothing more outrageous in this film than he’s done, and (b) the goofball splicing of goofball action, semi-serious drama and the most unlikely comedic duo a joy to behold. On my days off, I train The Long Kiss Goodnight to sit, heel, roll over and play dead, and it obeys my will like no other.

Our protagonist is a slightly ditzy housewife named Samantha (Geena Davis), who’s idyllic life is shattered when she begins to unravel her past, which is shrouded in that favorite of film clichés, amnesia. With the help of private dick Mitch (Sam Jackson), Samantha discovers something far more insidious than she ever thought possible: she used to own a SUV and be a soccer mom. No wait, that might be a Disney flick of some kind. We’re not too sure, we really should’ve gotten more sleep last night.

As sappy and saccerine sweet as Samantha’s suburban life is, that’s nothing compared to her true self: a heartless assassin named Charlie. The extreme natures of her two lives are what make this film somewhat thoughtful, seeing the two sides war against each other. But I’d be the first to admit that the whole “amnesiac assassin attempting to save Canada” would be enough to groan the audience to death, if it weren’t for Mitch. I mean, could you ask for a better sidekick than Samuel Jackson? John Travolta knows this, Bruce Willis knows this, Emilio Estevez knows this, and Gena Davis sure as heckfire knows this. As naive Samantha transforms into brutal Charlie, Mitch goes from being the strong one to the one who’s deep over his head, but sticks around to make some snippy one-liners. He’s a guy on our side, representing the slightly incredulous audience with no dignity whatsoever. Man, when he nearly wrecks a car to check out a girl, I knew we had a hero for the nineties. The conversations between Samantha/Charlie and Mitch are guaranteed for a few laughs, although Charlie’s old boss is a hoot as well.

Sidenote on Mitch: his little “remembering” song became a college tradition of me and my friends. You can honestly sing that song forever.

If you can accept the whole spy setup, you’re a long way toward relaxing and unbuttoning your fly (gotta release the awesome force of your tummy, even if it makes others uncomfortable). The action is nothing too standard. There’s the Running In Front Of A Fireball gag, a Mexican Standoff or two, a Jumping Onto Moving Vehicles diddy, and even a torture sequence for grins and giggles. What makes them work (in my deluded mind) is that the film takes all this traditional serious stuntwork and presents it with a twinkle in the eye and a devilish smile. I particularly got a kick out of Charlie treating her suburban neighborhood like a war obstacle course, culminating in a skate/shoot-fest across the park pond.

James Bond? A wuss. Keanu Reeves? Dull. Indiana Jones? In another film. But Davis and Jackson are bad-asses with cheek in this new thriller.

Andie’s Rating: I punch ’em in the jaw and yell “Pop goes the weasel!”

Andie’s Review: Well, as far as mindless action movies go, this was excellent. The acting was mediocre, the kid was annoying, and some of the stunts were so impossible, but it was still a very entertaining two hours.

I think Geena Davis was awesome in this movie. I like her a lot anyway, because she’s a good actress and because she’s 6 ft tall and so am I and that’s just cool. But it was really cool to see her kick some major butt as Charlie the government assassin. I also thought she did a wonderful job letting Charlie slowly infiltrate her Samantha-Caine-boring-housewife life. She was great.

The new boyfriend and the kid are kind of blah, but Samuel L. Jackson is a great sidekick for Geena Davis. He’s so funny! I almost peed my pants at the part where he says my rating for this movie, I was laughing so hard. I also really liked Timothy the bad guy. He was way too good looking to be a bad guy, but he was genuinely creepy and menacing, that was good. I’m also a big fan of David Morse and thought it was too bad that he had such a small role. But it was cool to see him torture Sam/Charlie. Overall, a great way to spend two hours if you don’t want to have to think too much.

Doesn't she just scream, "Scary assassin action hero?".

Doesn’t she just scream, “Scary assassin action hero?”.

Intermission!

  • Wow, grenades shoot flame 30 feet down a corridor and out a window!
  • The song “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” by Dean Martin plays in Samantha’s car radio. It also featured at the end of Die Hard 2, also directed by Renny Harlin.
  • At the end of the movie Geena Davis is driving a convertible and wearing a scarf and sunglasses. This is also how she ends Thelma & Louise

Groovy Quotes:

Mitch: Do you normally curse this much?
Samantha: I didn’t. . . what, are you a Mormon?
Mitch: Yes, I’m a Mormon. That’s why I just smoked a pack of Newport and drank three vodka and tonics.

Mitch: We jumped out of a building!
Waldman: Yes, very exciting. Tomorrow we go to the zoo.

Samantha: You thinking what I’m thinking?
Mitch: I hope not – I’m thinking about how much my balls hurt!

Samantha: Raymond! If I catch you smoking again, they’ll never find the body, do you understand?

Charlie: Easy, sport. I got myself out of Beirut once, I think I can get out of New Jersey.
Mitch: Well, don’t be so sure. Others have tried and failed. The entire population, in fact.

Charlie: Honk if there’s any trouble.
Mitch: Yes, Miz Daisy. I be honkin’.

[over walkie-talkies]
Thug: Sir, I’m hurt real bad. I think I’m dying.
Timothy: Continue dying, out.

Harold: So how often do you… [makes a hand gesture]
Samantha: Stick our fingers inside our hands and pull them out? Every chance we get.

Samantha: What happened?
Mitch: I saved your ass. It was great.

Mitch: So, you cold?
Samantha: Yeah, freezing.
Mitch: Well turn on the heat. It doesn’t work, but it makes a very annoying noise that distracts from the cold.

Charlie: I’m leaving the country, Mitch. I need a fake passport and I need money, lots of it.
Mitch: Well why didn’t you say so? Hold on a minute while I pull that outta my ass.

Mitch: You know, back when we first met, you were all like “Oh phooey, I burned the darn muffins.” Now, you go into a bar and ten minutes later sailors come runnin’ up. What up with that?

Nathan: Alice, please? Your dog, Alice — it and my appetite are mutually exclusive.
Alice: Well, what’s wrong with the dog?
Nathan: Simple: he’s been licking his asshole for the last three straight hours. I submit to you that there is nothing there worth more than an hour’s attention and I should think that whatever he is attempting to dislodge, is either gone for good… or there to stay.

Mitch: No, no, I sock them on the jaw and yell “Pop goes the weasel!”

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