Amnesia assassin

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Year: 1996
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

Such an interesting time it was when the pairing of Renny Harlin and Shane Black was a formula for success.  This movie came out at the end of an era when mindless action movies could have an R-rating and still have the potential to turn a significant profit.  I miss those days because even though most of these movies were really stupid I still enjoyed most of them.  I was 12 when this movie came out, and at that age the bigger the explosions and the bigger the lead female’s breast the better. This movie has all that but gets a boost from the fact that Samuel L Motherfucking Jackson is in it. Any movie, no matter the premise or context, is better when Samuel L Jackson is in it, period.  The film has a lot of over the top action and unlikely scenarios but those are to be expected from movies by both Harlin and Black. This film, being a collaboration between the two, may exaggerate that quality a bit. While everything might all be a bit too much in this film there is still plenty to like about it.  In fact, Harlin and Jackson both are on record mentioning it as one of their favorite movies that they worked on.

I watched this movie recently when I was on vacation with my brother.  It was interesting because we both grew up with it being a household favorite.  The two of us watching it together found little else in the film but things to make fun of. There is plenty to laugh off as ridiculous in this movie. For example, the scene in which Samantha starts cutting vegetables. The music alone makes it goofy as hell when the tone goes from suspenseful to lighthearted back to suspenseful in a matter of minutes. As a viewer it’s hard to tell if the scene is supposed to be horrifying or humorous. In good company there can be different perspectives on the table though and now that I am watching the movie on my own I’m seeing it differently.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a film to be taken seriously, but still there can be plenty to like here if you are in the right mood for it.

Samuel L Jackson is a gem who has made many roles his own.  I am generally under the theory that by and large he is and always will be Jules from Inglewood.  That’s OK though, because Jules was one of the greatest characters of all time.  He has played the character time and time again with different names and situations but he will always be Jules. There is a little bit of Jules in Mitch from this movie, and if nothing else it is Mitch who makes this movie worth wild.  He has so many great scenes in this film.  Here is a good example of what he brought to the film:

That’s just a taste of the comedic quality Jackson brought to the movie.  He is hands down one of my favorite actors of all time and while I don’t watch everything he does I do love him in everything I see him in.  I’ll be honest; this film collection may have Snakes on a Plane lurking in the “S” section specifically because Samuel L Jackson is awesome. I think the fact that he has mentioned this movie as one of his favorites when he has made almost 150 movies says something important and if nothing else it makes this movie worth your time to see it.

I have always liked Geena Davis, but in truth that is probably only because she was in her prime while I was going through puberty. Still, despite movies like this, she turned in a few impressive performances in her time. I think it was a bit of a stretch for Renny Harlin to try to make an action star out of his wife but she made a better effort than Angelina Jolie ever did. Despite how much of an apocalyptic failure Cutthroat Island was I always liked it but I think this collaboration between Harlin and Davis was much better. She looked pretty good in the pirate get-up but she had the right attitude for Samantha Caine and Charlie Baltimore both despite being such an exaggerated character.  

Some films have a timeless quality that enables them to live on forever and relate to every generation that comes along.  This is not one of those movies.  The Long Kiss Goodnight is the kind of movie that you just had to be there to really enjoy.  It’s hard to look back now and appreciate this movie but if you were there, living life in the mid 90s and loving these kinds of actions movies, then you get it.  This movie was a product of its time, just as I am, and having that in common I like this movie even though it may be pretty silly when that wasn’t at all what it was going for.  If you remember the good old days when bad guys and good guys alike both used the fuck word with an aggressive frequency and enjoyed them as I did then this one is worth your time.  If nothing else it is worth seeing just because Samuel L Jackson was awesome in it.

NEXT MOVIE: Look Who’s Talking (1989) This is an embarrassment I know, read our next review to see easy it is to get caught up in the moment and make stupid decisions. 

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