The Long Kiss Goodnight

Starring: Geena DavisSamuel L. Jackson Directed by: Renny Harlin

You know those 3-4 packs of movies you see at Target (or Wal-Mart…..but I don’t like to go there.  The foyer always smells a little bit too much like hobo) that you pick up and there is always one stinker in there, making the price not as good as it seems?  Like Big, The Princess Bride, and…..Nim’s Island?  Or Commando, Predator, and……Aliens Vs. Predator?  Schwarzenegger has a dozen great cult classics, why do you have to throw a complete dud in there?  I mean, Hellraiser 4, Hellraiser 5, Hellraiser 6, and Hellraiser 7?!  I think we all know where the weak link is there…………

Which is why it was quite a surprise when I came to find a 3-pack at Target that didn’t have a single miss.  A Samuel L. Jackson 3-pack.  The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, and Snakes on a Plane.  A dream come true.  And I watched each and every one of these over my recent vacation weekend in Evansville.  No reason, I suppose, not to just review these chronologically, which puts The Long Kiss Goodnight  first.

Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a wife, parent, and teacher who has been suffering from amnesia for the past eight years.  After a car wreck Caine starts to display an odd skill set.  Deadly accuracy with a knife, an adeptness at hand- b to-hand fighting, even the ability to knock out a mysterious intruder.  And also break his neck.

Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson), meanwhile, is a private investigator hired to find information on Mrs. Caine.  After an old suitcase once belonging to Caine is found in an old boarding house, Henessey goes to deliver the goods to her.  Inside an address and phone number are found, and Henessey and Caine set off to try and uncover more of her past.

After contacting the man indicated on the newly discovered evidence, Nathan Waldman (Brian Cox), a meeting is set up at a nearby train station.  Of course nothing goes as planned, and after a series of events involving a gun fight, grenades, and a blind plunge out of a third-story window, Henessey and Caine eventually meet up with Waldman, who tries to convince Caine she is actually Charly Baltimore, a CIA operative dealing mostly in assassinations.  Henessey and Caine both think he is either A.) Crazy or B.) Somehow trying to set her up.

Eventually, as is the case with this sort of film, we find that somebody working with their own set of motives is worried Caine or, rather, Baltimore, might have knowledge of an operation that they don’t want her to have and, accordingly, need to shut her up.  As the danger for Caine increases, her previous ego of Baltimore starts to reflexively emerge until, after a particularly brutal bit of torturing, she completely remembers her past life.

Despite treading a bit of familiar territory, The Long Kiss Goodnight is a solid entry in the action genre.  Nothing here is groundbreaking, but the script is above average and bolstered by strong performances from both Davis and Jackson.  Davis goes from frumpy housewife to sexy assassin remarkably well.  While Jackson’s main focus here is comic relief, it is better scripted than most.  We aren’t subjected to a set of obvious jokes and cheesy one-liners.  Jackson’s humor comes from his demeanor, as well as the interplay between him and Davis.


While watching I couldn’t help but think about the similarities between The Long Kiss Goodnight and Die Hard 2.  Both take place around Christmas, have scenes filled with snow, a lone vigilante against unrealistic odds where the villains seem incapable of even vaguely aiming the automatic guns they are all toting, scenes with snowmobiles, and both Geena Davis and Bruce Willis look surprisingly good as blondes.  Wait, maybe that was The Fifth Element.  It’s hard to say.  I haven’t seen either of those films in a long, long time.

Renny Harlin did, however, direct both films, so there’s probably a reason they sort of feel the same.  Which is a perfect way to segue in to the next film on the list, one which shares a star (Sam Jack), a director (Mr. Harlin) and a hot blonde (Thomas Jane).

Deep Blue Sea review at

Written by Ryan Venson