The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Genres - Action, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Release Date - Oct 11, 1996 (USA)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

Certainly a vast improvement over the legendary debacle of Cutthroat Island (1995), the previous collaboration of the then husband-and-wife team of director Renny Harlin and star Geena Davis, this overblown action thriller starts out very strong but fails to pay off in a satisfying conclusion. Acting really isn't the hallmark of the action genre, so suffice it to say that the cast is what is required of a fast-paced pulp tale littered with corpses and explosions: They grunt, grimace, and grit their teeth with appropriate determination when firing a weapon or jumping from great heights. It's the script by Shane Black that makes or breaks a film such as this, so it's a pleasant surprise that The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) starts off with an inventive high-concept twist, developing a character nicely. Sadly, it then morphs somewhere in the second act into a routine series of percussive beats and a predictable government espionage/conspiracy/paranoia tale. If their project had delved into the issues of identity as thoughtfully as those action epics based on the works of novelist Philip K. Dick, the filmmakers might truly have had something not only viscerally exciting but intellectually fresh and stimulating on their hands.