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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Long Kiss Goodnight

A brainless, but fun-filled cartoon action-adventure film

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 9, 1996 -- I've been waiting about a month to see ``The Long Kiss Goodnight,'' that's how long it's been out in the rest of the country. I'd just about given up hope of seeing it come to town, but then, just like ``Two Days in the Valley'' finally showed up, so did this one.

I've heard a lot about ``The Long Kiss Goodnight.'' It is one of those films that people either love or hate. Roger Ebert gave it thumbs down, but a lot of people, particularly the college-age crowd give it a big thumbs up. On the Internet Movie Database poll, the average rating was 8.4 from over 200 voters, and you can bet most of them weren't Roger's age.

The film is one of those high-energy comic book style action films from director Renny Harlin, who I believe is married to the star of the film, Geena Davis. The two worked on another big action film in 1995, the swashbuckling ``Cutthroat Island,'' which did not make it to Laramie. It's out on video now, but it's probably not the same movie on the little screen.

Harlin also directed ``Cliffhanger'' in 1993 and ``Die Hard 2'' in 1990. ``The Long Kiss Goodnight'' reminds me of those two films, lots of action, bullets, blood and explosions with a little comedy. Nothing fancy.

There are plenty of holes in the plot, but this isn't a serious movie. It's a popcorn movie, very light and tasty. Davis plays a spy with amnesia. That's right, amnesia, one of the favorite plot props for soap operas. After eight years of being a mild mannered school teacher she begins to remember who she is. About the same time, her enemies, thinking she was dead, discover she is alive. She knows too much about government secrets and has to be killed.

Samuel L. Jackson plays Mitch Henessey, a crooked private eye working for Davis who stumbles upon her true identity by accident and gets caught up in a violent series of shootouts. Despite killing oodles of people, both main characters turn out to be noble after all. Jackson's character is a lot like Danny Glover's in the "Lethal Weapon" movies. There are some very clever lines of dialogue in this movie and some great stunts thanks to Steve M. Davidson, a fine stunt coordinator.

One of my favorite lines of dialogue features Jackson and another character talking early in the movie. One character keeps repeating what the other character says and the first one says, ``Who are you, William Shatner?'' It's a great inside joke. In the old Star Trek series, Shatner's character, James T. Kirk, often repeated other people's dialogue (check out ``The Trouble with Tribbles,'' for instance). There are jokes like that throughout the film.

No. It won't be mistaken for a work of art, but it is entertaining if you don't take it seriously, and why in the world would you? It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1996 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)