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"The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #89 Gem Mint 10.0

“The Long Kiss Goodnight“ (1996)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Shane Black

Starring: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Brian Cox, David Morse, Yvonne Zima, Craig Bierko

Rated: R for a substantial amount of strong bloody violence, and for strong language

Runtime: 2h 1min

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Country: USA

Language: English

"Samantha Caine lives in a small town with her daughter. Eight years ago she emerged, two months pregnant, from a nearby river with no memory of her past or who she is. However, she's getting closer to finding out about her past."

You might like this if you like: Action Movies, Crime Movies, Shane Black Movies, Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Brian Cox, Christmas Movies

Geena Davis (left) & Samuel L. Jackson (right) in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996)

Another near perfect (which is essentially my version of “perfect” as I don’t believe in perfection) holiday thriller, but maybe more in the action realm than suspense.

I’d heard about this film for years but hadn’t finally sat down to watch it until only recently.. and holy f*cking shit. This movie is awesome!

I went in knowing absolutely nothing. No trailer, no synopsis. I was thrilled watching every opening credit! Geena Davis? Brian Cox? Written by Shane Black? I was so ready. 3 gems I love and the idea of them all mixing together was just too exciting. To be fair, the only thing I knew going into the film was that Samuel L. Jackson was in it and that it might be Christmas themed. Which was clearly enough for me to hit play.

Geena Davis in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996)

I truly was ecstatic that I was watching another Shane Black film. I’d just rewatched his underrated blockbuster masterpiece; “Iron Man 3” (2013) and couldn’t help but start to see his distinct style, dialogue and structure he likes to use in his films. I think it’s fair to say Shane Black enjoys his Christmas themes. He really does em’ well.

I hadn’t seen Geena Davis in anything even remotely close to the role she played in this. Definitely a favorite performance of hers, what a character they came up with together (Davis, Black and director Renny Harlin). She absolutely kicked ass.

Samuel L. Jackson (left) & Geena Davis (right) in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996)

It’s a simple story, yet made so intricate it feels more original than it appears to be on the surface. James Bond forgetting he’s James Bond. A setup I was more than down for and with an amazing team to do it. Beautifully directed by Renny Harlin, the settings and locations were amazing, my god that Niagara Falls wide shot, action was top notch with some brilliant performances. I definitely underestimated the scope of this film.

Brian Cox has been a favorite for years! From playing the first live action Hannibal Lecter in “Manhunter” (1986), to the creator of Wolverine as William Stryker in “X2: X-Men United” (2003), to Agamemnon in Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy” (2004), the professor in “Adaptation” (2002) and now HBO’s “Succession” as the father of corruption; Logan Roy. I’ll watch anything he’s in. A true favorite whose work I continue to discover and obsess over.

Geena Davis in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996)

This really is a wild ride of a film! Shane Black unchained! Just getting to do some batshit crazy stuff that having come off “Iron Man 3” (2013) I’d felt maybe some Disney/PG-13 restrictions. Seeing Shane Black’s work with no restrictions was really fun! Definitely going to have to have a Shane Black marathon soon. He’s becoming a new all time favorite.

Written by Sam Gall on 12/17/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"With fast-paced adventure, detonative mayhem, a decent body count, and an unflinching approach to mouthy dialogue, the project is a shining example of an overlooked actioner." - Mike Massle, Gone With The Twins

"Despite its often basic action structure, there is enough substance in the script to intrigue those viewers who normally look down on movies loaded-up with blasts, blows and blood." - Leigh Paatsch, Herald Sun (Australia)

"The odd couple pairing of Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson is one of the film's best assets, as the duo display terrific comedic chemistry." - Chelsea Steiner, The Mary Sue

"For once, Shane Black's penchant for Christmas isn't merely window-dressing. He understands the holiday's sometimes wearying grenade-shrapnel shell-shock - and how claustrophobically cloistering with loved ones often can only expand the blast radius." - Nick Rogers, The Film Yap

Official Trailer:

Available on various VOD platforms

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