The Long Kiss Goodnight

long kiss

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to clarify that headline: The Long Kiss Goodnight is not a masterpiece. Sorry to break it to you, Renny Harlin, but your finest work falls just short of Lawrence of Arabia and all those other films about schoolteachers discovering their killer pasts. Harlin’s career is full of highs and lows, including last weekend‘s The Legend of Hercules, but everything about Harlin’s “style,” from even his lowest points, came into focus for 1996’s The Long Kiss Goodnight. When Harlin’s name shows in the opening credits for his quasi-spy thriller, a grenade appears, appropriately (and visually) declaring this is the director’s most explosive outing yet. Harlin maintains a jovial energy through the film’s entire runtime, but much of the its success is attributed to screenwriter Shane Black. Black’s sensibility rings loud and clear underneath Harlin’s bombast: a dark sense of humor, an unlikely duo at the center, inventive set pieces, and clever setups and payoffs.

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It’s called a character arc, and everybody has one. It’s the progression of a character throughout a film as they go from “A” to “B” and change emotionally, intellectually, and physically along the way. It exists because nobody sane wants to watch two hours of some dude sitting in a chair…which just so happens to be the story of how this very list was made. When it comes to action, horror, and any other fast-paced genre of film, one of the best things about watching the characters adapt is that since the environment they exist in is so do-or-die, there is a incredibly steep learning curve – so by the end of the film, you most likely have a completely different person you started with…and considering that they are still alive, they probably got way, way more badass along the way.

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Talk of a sequel to The Long Kiss Goodnight has been openly floating around since at least 2007, and this Summer, Samuel L. Jackson again confirmed that he was up to the task. Jackson claiming to be in development is something that happens twice a day, but I recently spoke with director Renny Harlin for Reject Radio, and he confirmed that he wasn’t just twiddling his thumbs about it. He’s hired a writer to pen the script. “I just came back from Miami where I directed an episode of Burn Notice. I really like that series so I went to go and direct an episode, and the writer of the episode was Ben Watkins who is one of the producers of the show. I’d read quite a bit of his stuff, and he turned out to be a giant fan of [The Long Kiss Goodnight] so we started talking, and we decided we’re going to do it together,” said Harlin. The director also confirmed that the concept for the film hasn’t changed much. It will still focus on Samantha’s (Geena Davis) daughter Caitlin (played by Yvonne Zima) who teams up with Jackson’s character Mitch to seek revenge on the people who take her mother’s life. Of course, Caitlin would be 21 or so (which puts Zima in the running to reprise the character age wise), but it’s unclear as to whether they’ll seek a bigger name or stick with true continuity. Either way, Shane Black will not be involved considering […]

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Samuel L. Jackson has been in 7,000 films, but we took on the cyclopean task of finding the Ten Best. We also got a Word-of-the-Day calendar and have been dying to use ‘cyclopean’ in a sentence.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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