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Review: The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) – ManlyMovie

Review: The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

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I agree to an extent that there aren’t many good action heroines. The ones we have today, are the ones the current Hollywood bigwigs use to try and push their overtly-liberal agenda, not necessarily believing in such beliefs as much as they do knowing that there’s a huge audience that’ll shill out for this nonsense. These are especially evident in the young-adult scourge that gave birth to the unholy franchises which are The Hunger Games and Divergent. Because nothing says tough and hard like early-to-mid 20-year-old girls refusing to kill enemies even as they pose further threats, because “they’re better than that”. Gimme a freakin’ break.

 

20+ years ago, we’ve had a few tough mommas who weren’t afraid to get down n’ dirty when it needs be. Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor are two of only a handful of heroines (okay, maybe Furiosa too) that were more than believable when taking direct action when crap hit the fan. They aren’t there to pose for a Young Adult or Lifestyle magazine, they’re there to kill or be killed. Now, nearly every female heroine has the obligatory “strike a pose” scene whenever there’s an action sequence. I blame the Wachowski’s Matrix films, as well as the current superhero film glut, for these.

 

Joining Connor and Ripley in their ranks is Geena Davis’ fun performance as Charly Baltimore from Renny Harlin’s The Long Kiss Goodnight, a CIA agent afflicted with memory loss after a botched mission and assumes her cover identity, small-town schoolteacher Samantha Caine, as the real deal for years, going so far as to have a husband and daughter in the process. Soon enough, Charly’s past enemies come after her and her family, so she teams up with private eye Mitch Hennessy (Samuel L. Jackson) to stop the bad guys.

 

 

This was the second, and final, film with her then-husband Harlin (the cheesily entertaining and wildly infamous Cutthroat Island was their first collaboration), and I guess I can’t blame Harlin for overtly glorifying his wife as one tough gal – Paul W.S. Anderson did it to a lesser extent in the Resident Evil films. The key difference is that Charly looks damn good doing it and relishes every kill with glee, cracking out a one-liner here and there in the process. Imagine a female Jason Bourne mixed with Mike Banning’s sociopathy from the Olympus Has Fallen films and you get the idea. Davis, too, looks like she’s having a lot of fun in the role and not modelling to look morose. Just like Cutthroat, I have to credit her for performing a majority of her stunts herself.

 

I have to talk about the action sequences, they are fine and loud as hell. This was Renny Harlin at his prime – large-scale stunts and effects; lots of bright, huge orangey explosions; lots and lots of unfaked blood squibs when people get stabbed or shot (multiple times here, I might add); well-timed slow-motion sequences; crisp and shaky-free cinematography; precise action editing; an exciting score by Predator’s Alan Silvestri… with very few exceptions invoving some dodgy CGI, this is an action fan’s dream, the action is absolutely ballistic, and Harlin never short-changes on the adrenaline rush. I have to say that this is arguably his best film and one of his most overlooked throughout his entire career, and this coming from a huge fan of Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2. And the action finale… good Lord, what a finale. Talk about ending it with a bang.

 

Much of why the film works so well is due to the banter between Charly and Mitch. Jackson has a tendency of playing himself in nearly every film he’s in, but because the script is written by none other than Shane Black, you just know the buddy dynamic between the duo feels plausible and works extremely well. In fact, there are a lot of quotable lines as per Black’s trademark here – when one villain whips out a blade when fighting a blood-covered Charly, she sarcastically remarks “Oh honey, only four inches?” To which he replies “You’ll feel me.” Pure, un-PC gold. There’s also a very good, albeit brief appearance by character actor Brian Cox, perhaps foreshadowing his (more restrained) performance in the Bourne films?

The only major weakness I found with the script is its lack of memorable villains, because, let’s face it, when you’ve seen one corrupt government official and agent, you’ve seen them all. But probably not as well-quipped as these guys, though. Another weakness is that the film turns a tad too sentimental with a subplot involving her daughter, but Black’s writing and Davis’ acting is convincing enough to make the character’s motives seem plausible, and made me cheer for her on when she goes all out against the baddies at the film’s climax.

 

This movie, in my opinion, proves that a manly beer-and-steak film can indeed be made with a female lead. It’s a shame that Harlin’s and Davis’ careers never peaked again after this. Man, back when action movies were action movies, before CGI-fluff ruined everything, this kind of action reigned supreme. If Hollywood wants to make proper action heroines, in my opinion they should take large notes from Black, and Jim Cameron, too. This one’s for the Blu-Ray collection.

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  • Lt_Cobretti

    Absolutely spot on review. This, Cutthroat and also Semisonic are criminally underrated.

  • jim

    Never liked it…Silly stuff…

  • Just Some Polack

    Another proof how fucked in head the SJWs are. When they have actual badass female action heroines, like Charly Baltimore or any Michelle Yeoh role, they ignore it. But when they come across shitty action movie heroine, like phoning in Jennifer Lawrence or that stuck up, know-it-all bitch from “The Farce Awakens”, they praise the living hell out of them and use the standard intellectual terrorism on those who disagree. Whatever, right now I only pray for a miracle that they’ll have an unpleasant surprise on November 9th.

    • Mucho Macho

      They are trying so hard and yet in the process by acting like women can do everything in the way they are doing it, it makes it seem more like a novelty rather than a fact.
      I mean when I watched “the force awakens” and that fucking annoying know-it-all cunt started telling Han Solo how to fly the fucking Millennium Falcon five minutes after sitting her ass down in the ship, I wanted to punch the fucking screen.

      I like how all these “empowered females” don’t even know who Cynthia Rothrock is or even Pam Grier for that matter and how much they kicked ass back in the day.
      True story I saw one of those young starlets the other day in an interview say that 2000s “Charlie’s Angels” was the first time audiences around the world saw women Kick-Ass. I just sat there like “what a fucking idiot!”

    • jim

      The Donald can do it.!!. ..and even if he doesn’t Hilary will be wrecked..

      • Just Some Polack

        If the US election was actually fair and direct, without this electoral votes bullshit, then yeah, absolutely! But with the amount of desperation from Leftist World Order, 1-2 million registered zombies and the fact, that too many gullible women and blacks may have fallen for this “Trump is racist/sexist” bullshit… I don’t know.

        • jim

          I’m convinced a lot of the Trump vote is disguised by an angry silence. People are saving their ammo for the ballot box. They know that if they declare their support for The Donald they might get trouble at work, or abuse from all their nice liberal neighbours, their kids will be singled out at school by the heavily politicized teachers…. From over here it looks like he’s got a very serious shot at it..The Brexit vote kept it’s head down until polling day too…He can win this fucker…

          • Just Some Polack

            Well, you’re probably right. I just hope the Trump’s edge is too big for neocommies to falsify the election.

  • Mucho Macho

    This is one of the most underrated action movies of the 1990s.

  • Mucho Macho

    AlTeo came out swinging in this review…
    Yeah..Fuck’em!!!
    Good job buddy👍

    • AlTeo

      Gracias amigo

      It amuses me that the so-called feminists proudly champion young adult fluff in cinema and yet forget true badassery such as Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, no one else) and Ellen Ripley. Sometimes these misguided folks need a guiding hand.

      • Mucho Macho

        Absolutely.
        I remember watching one of those “Divergent” films in the theater with my girlfriend and I remember leaning to her and saying that chick it’s not even a third of a quarter believable in throwing a punch. She just looks silly, not to mention extremely fragile doing so.
        The problem with groups like the feminazis, I’m sorry feminist, is that they contradict themselves quite often. I mean forget politics for a minute, Hillary Clinton is being held as a feminist icon.
        2 questions.. Would a feminist allowed her husband to humiliate her like that in public through the years? and if the point of feminism is to prove that a woman is capable of doing as much as a man, why does she need to be in a marriage that’s clearly a business arrangement?

        No wonder now most marriages end in divorce. A lot of these women confuse equal rights with just being a humongous pain in the ass, just for the sake of being a pain in the ass. That’s why they’re growing old alone with just a bunch of fucking cats.. nobody can stand being around them.
        I know girls that are still young, beautiful and actually with some money and they can’t keep a man. Even broke men won’t stay with them. Like our parents used to tell us when we were kids, there are moments in life one has to know their place.
        These Feminazis need to learn to shut the fuck up every once in a while. If they do you’ll see divorce rates will go down again.

  • Mucho Macho

    “Last time I got blown, candy bars cost a nickel”
    Mitch( Sam Jackson)

  • I just watched this a couple weeks ago. I have this in my collection. Very entertaining! Samuel L. line, “Now judging by your taste (looking at the hooker), I can see you’re not a wealthy man.” LOL.

    • AlTeo

      “when you make an assumption, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘umption’ ”

      Damn it, how does Shane Black do it?!