Honest question here. Was Geena Davis ever a true top A-List actress? I mean, I know in the late 80’s/early 90’s, she probably was or at least on the very cusp. Of course, that kind of got shot down after Cutthroat Island bombed. I don’t know how much that might have affected her relationship with her husband at the time, since he was the director, but one year later, she starred in another movie that he directed. Today’s movie happens to be the second of those movies that Geena Davis starred in, and in my opinion, the better of the two. So here is The Long Kiss Goodnight.
The plot: Samantha Caine is a teacher in Honesdale, PA, living with her boyfriend Hal and her daughter Caitlin. Samantha is suffering from amnesia and can’t remember anything since she was found washed ashore on the beach, so she has hired a P.I. named Mitch Henessey to try and find some details about her past. One night after a Christmas party, Samantha is driving a drunken friend home and she ends up getting in a wreck when she hits a deer and suffers a concussion. Returning home, she is preparing dinner when she begins to exhibit some extraordinary skills with a kitchen knife, she thinks she might have been a chef, but some of her attitude causes Hal and Caitlin to worry. Meanwhile, a prisoner known as “One-Eyed Jack” sees Samantha on television and becomes escapes from prison, while in another location a man is torturing a prisoner when he receives a phone call about Jack’s escape and saying that Charly Baltimore was still alive. Some time later, Jack shows up at Samantha’s house and attempts to kill her but she manages to fight him off and kill him. Mitch shows up and Samantha leaves with him to follow up on what he found out. During the drive, Samantha finds a phone number in a book she once owned and speaks with Dr. Nathan Waldman, who tells Samantha her name is Charlene “Charly” Elizabeth Baltimore and arranges a place for them to meet and talk. After stopping at a motel for the night, Samantha examines an old suitcase of hers that Mitch found and discovers a false bottom, where a sniper rifle and knife are hidden. Samantha is shocked to discover that she is able to assemble the rifle and has a vision of a different version of her. When she almost shoots him by accident, Mitch is prepared to leave her but she manages to convince him to continue helping her. They head to the meeting with Nathan but when they get there, they are attacked by an assassin, which Samantha manages to kill. When more armed men try to kill them, they manage to escape from the station and end up being saved by Nathan. Nathan explains that Charly is an assassin working for the CIA and Samantha Caine was merely her cover from her last assignment. She was supposed to kill a man named Daedalus but she failed in her mission and went missing for eight years, presumed dead. Mitch believes Nathan is lying to them and, after knocking him out, he drives Samantha to see her former fiance, Luke. When they get there, Samantha talks with Luke while Mitch keeps watch. Nathan sneaks up on Mitch but after the two talk, he realizes that Luke is actually her target but when they try to warn her, they end up captured and Luke knocks Samantha unconscious. When she wakes up, Samantha finds herself strapped to a wheel and Luke proceeds to torture her by lowering her into the freezing water. While she is underwater, she has a flashback as to what happened to her before she got amnesia, and regains her memories as Charly. When she is submerged a third time, she manages to free one of her arms and grab a hidden gun from the body of Nathan, who is in the water beneath her, and shoots Daedalus when he brings her back to the surface. Charly frees herself and rescues Mitch, then the two find a hotel, where Charly patches up Mitch before changing her appearance back to what she looked like. Mitch finds a picture of Hal and Caitlin, where Charly had ripped Samantha out of it, and when she tries to seduce Mitch, he stops her, believing that she is doing it to try and kill off every trace of Samantha. After she kills some men that were trying to kill her and Mitch, she decides to leave the country and sneaks back to her house to get a key that she left with her daughter. While she is there, she hears singing nearby and uses her rifle’s scope to look at Caitlin and Hal. When she hears Mitch honk his horn, she sees him being chased by some men in a car and manages to take them out. As they are leaving town, she receives a call from Timothy, who tells her that he has Caitlin and offers to exchange her for Charly. Charly managed to trace the call to Niagara Falls and heads there to try and set a trap for Timothy but when she sees her old boss, Perkins, show up, she realizes that Perkins is working with Timothy on Operation Honeymoon, a plan to detonate a chemical bomb and have it blamed on Muslim terrorists in order to gain more funding. Charly infiltrates the enemy base and manages to grab Caitlin but Timothy anticipated it and manages to capture her and Mitch. Timothy has Charly placed in a freezer and after Charly tells him that Caitlin is his kid, he looks for himself and leaves Caitlin in the freezer as well. Charly gets a hook off the rack and gouges out a groove under the door, which she pours some kerosene, which was hidden in Caitlin’s doll, and uses a match to ignite it, causing an explosion when it reaches some nearby fuel drums. Charly tells Caitlin to hide while she deals with an attacker but Caitlin ends up hiding in the explosive truck. Mitch sees her and goes to try and save her, with Charly covering him, but he ends up getting shot and the truck drives off. Charly manages to overtake the truck and after kicking the driver out, drives the truck out of town, but she soon realizes that the brakes are out and she is unable to stop and ends up crashing on the bridge to the Canadian border. Charly winds up fighting with Timothy but manages to knock him down into the falls. Charly manages to free Caitlin and tells her to run, but when she sees that her mom has collapsed, Caitlin runs back to her and begins yelling at Charly to wake up until she finally does. Timothy had survived the fall and signals a helicopter to pick him up, where he then begins to shoot at Charly and Caitlin. Charly uses the truck’s CB to beg for someone to help her but the agents on the bridge refuse to help. However, Mitch had hidden himself in the car meant for the dead terrorist and uses it to drive out to the bridge to rescue them. Charly gets Caitlin into the car, then after getting Timothy’s attention focused on her, she manages to shoot him out of the helicopter, causing him to land on the truck, then she gets in the car and the head towards the border before the bomb goes off. Some time later, Charly, choosing to go by Samantha, receives a call from the President, thanking her for what she did and asking her to come back to work for the government, which she refuses as she would rather keep her life with Hal and Caitlin.
The Long Kiss Goodnight met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus seemed to be that the movie was a well crafted and fun movie to watch, but there was little substance in it. The character of Mitch Henessey was originally supposed to be white and Jewish but when Samuel L. Jackson decided to read for it, he impressed everyone so much that they changed it to fit him. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning over $89 million off a $65 million budget.
It’s a somewhat enjoyable action movie. That’s honestly all I can think of to describe it. Samuel Jackson (Mitch) and Craig Bierko (Timothy) were pretty good but I felt like Geena Davis was decent at times while rather over the top at others. The story wasn’t exactly original but I will give props for them using a female lead instead of the typical male lead. The action scenes were pretty typical, nothing really over the top. In fact, compared to some of the movies I have watched recently, the seem downright boring. Thanks, Expendables, for ruining action movies for me. All in all, it’s not a bad action movie, but it’s not going to be my first choice for one to watch.
Rating: 3 out of 5