Combustible Celluloid
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With: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima, Craig Bierko, Brian Cox, David Morse
Written by: Shane Black
Directed by: Renny Harlin
MPAA Rating: R for a substantial amount of strong bloody violence, and for strong language
Running Time: 120
Date: 10/11/1996

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Girl Trouble

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This is the latest screenplay by Shane Black, who wrote Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout. He's kind of a low-rent Quentin Tarantino. His screenplays are tight, funny, well-written and fun, but his stories can be cliched and predictable.

Even so, I like The Long Kiss Goodnight. I thought it was a lot of fun, and the dialogue was funny and didn't make me wince in pain (like Independence Day or The Rock). There are a lot of good action sequences that I won't give away. But if you take time to think during the movie, you can figure out everything in advance.

Geena Davis (directed by her husband Renny Harlin) really goes through the mill playing an action hero. She gets shot, stabbed, dunked, and her mascara runs everywhere. Samuel L. Jackson has a fun but easy part for an actor of his ilk. He gets to have blood dribbling from his goatee at one point, though. I'd like to see Jackson in the lead in a movie like this. (Though I'd also like to see more female action heroes.)

The villains are paper-thin here. You won't find anything as good as Dennis Hopper in Speed or John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire. These are the kinds of guys who are just evil incarnate; twisted, nasty people who are just waiting to die.

The days of movies where the hero turns off the bomb with 2 seconds left are over. These days they just let the bomb go off and try to outrun the explosion.

There's a lot of good 60's and 70's rock and blues on the soundtrack, and there's a clip from Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye on a TV.

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