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'The Long Kiss Goodnight'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 11, 1996

If there are two kids who ought to be kept artistically apart, it’s Geena Davis and her husband, director Renny Harlin. (If you saw their disastrous "Cutthroat Island," you need no further explanation.)

In their latest co-blunder, written by Shane Black, buffed-up Davis is a tough action star -- a sort of La Femme Geenita, who has lost her memory. When we meet her, she’s a seemingly sweet schoolteacher suffering amnesia. But after a car crash, she gets a major mental jog, and the past comes back, little by little.

Turns out she’s a brutal, cranky killing machine, with a Schwarzenegger-like past, who has made a lot of enemies. When these enemies find out that her memory’s coming back, they take action to eliminate her.

Davis, a master gunshooter and martial-arts scrapper, is up to their attacks, but she’s saddled with a sweet little daughter (from her recent, schoolteacher life), who becomes a hostage. Davis hooks up with Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson), a likable, seedy detective, who eventually becomes her strongest and only ally, and frankly, who provides much-needed comic relief.

But the problem with this movie is the problem with most Renny Harlin movies: There’s an excessive amount of excess -- a mind-numbing plurality of firearm battles, vehicular explosions and brutally frank sexual talk. Funnily enough, there’s more to life (and even action movies) than this.

Contains everything: violence, profanity, nudity and sexual situations.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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