Monday, March 07, 2011

The Long Kiss Goodnight

In short, the 1996 action thriller is a classic Angelina Jolie film, without her in it, of course. The film reminded me of the latest Jolie blockbuster Salt so much! Only difference is, while Salt is alone in her mission to save herself while eliminating her enemies, here Geena Davis has a sidekick in Samuel L Jackson. You would remember Davis from Thelma and Louise, and she perfectly fits the bill as a kick-ass action star. What intrigues me however is Jackson playing the sidekick, the demented action heroine’s voice of reason, at the height of his career, after his breakthrough role as Jules in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, and his star turn in Bruce Willis’ Die Hard With A Vengeance. Here is plays a tough but nice guy, almost emasculated, to enhance the masculine possibilities of the Davis character (At the beginning of the third act, he tells the action heroine, “I will wait for you to come and rescue me.” Nice.)

Written by Shane Black and directed by Renny Harlin, the plot of The Long Kiss Goodnight is an excuse for action. Samantha, a school teacher, has a lovely daughter and a nice boyfriend. Everything is perfect, except that she cannot remember anything of her life prior to the day she was rescued from the sea eight years back. She is the ‘amnesia chick’, who has hired several private detectives to dig up her past, but without success. The latest is Samuel L Jackson, a small-time crook looking for some easy money.

On the occasion of Christmas, she dresses up as Santa and takes part in a carnival, an event which unfortunately is broadcast in TV, and is seen by people who thought she was dead, and want her dead anyway. Meanwhile, Samantha meets with an accident and suddenly realises that she can wield the kitchen knife like nobody’s business. How? Next, a bald guy shows up at her home, and Sam more or less kills him single-handedly. Next, appears Jackson’s private eye with information, and Sam embarks upon a journey to open a can worms about her past as an government assassin. Wow. Next, it’s all bang, bang, and more bang.

Like Jolie, Davis navigates through the gunfire, explosion and fights with an effortless panache, which is fantastic to look at, as long as it is on. And then, you move on.

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