The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

long kiss goodnight poster 1996 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some memorable action scenes

Ridiculous story and poor acting by Davis

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Long Kiss Goodnight

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  October 11, 1996

MPAA Rating:  R


I like to cook

Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a woman with no past.  When she woke up pregnant and with amnesia on a New Jersey Beach, she was adopted by the small town of Honesdale where she made her life as a teacher with her daughter.  Just as a down on his luck private investigator named Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson) stumbles upon clues to Samantha’s identity, Samantha is involved in a serious accident which also awakens more memories of her past.  Samantha learns that she was a spy and that she might not be able to suppress or stop her past from coming back…and it could destroy her, Henessey, and her child if it does.


Listen lady, I’m getting sick of getting abused because of you

Directed by Geena Davis’s then husband Renny Harlin, The Long Kiss Goodnight was an action thriller which was another attempt to turn Geena Davis into an action star.  The movie was written by Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black and released to moderate to positive reviews and a modest showing at the box office.

I would never accuse Geena Davis of being a good actress despite her Academy Award winning role in The Accidental Tourist and some good turns in movies like Beetlejuice or Thelma and Louise.  After the disaster that Harlin’s first attempt to turn his wife into a big star (aka Cutthroat Island), I thought they would give up…they didn’t.  The idea of centering another action film around her seems like a bad one…and it was.


If this movie doesn’t work, I’m auditioning for a role as an emo-vampire

The plot for The Long Kiss Goodnight is fun but extremely laughable and unrealistic.  The script toes the line of something like Black’s Lethal Weapon series, but can’t seem to commit to comedy-action or just straight action.  While the movie generally takes the straight action approach, most of the stuff that is meant to be dramatic action is just funny.  I saw the movie in college at a cheap showing and most of the crowd was laughing…and not at stuff that was meant to be laughed at.

Geena Davis just delivers her lines flat and attempts to be sexy throughout the film.  I think she halfway works as a comedic actress, but her dramatic stuff for me just struggles.  Fortunately Samuel L. Jackson does pick up some of the slack and provides genuine laughs.  There are also some nice supporting roles with David Morse and Brian Cox as people involved in Davis’s life before her amnesia.



The action sequences are sometimes clever but with the uncommitted plot, generally flounder.  I like the water torture scene and the showdown on the Niagara bridge, but those are matched by scenes like the ice skating scene…having put on ice skates, I’m sure the character would be able to lace up, get to the ice, and gun down people.  It isn’t action, it isn’t clever, and it is just stupid.

The Long Kiss Goodnight is a decent, unintended comedy and a pretty bad action movie.  Harlin has for years talked of doing a sequel to this film and there is always talk in Hollywood about this actually happening.  The movie now comes off as a weak Kill Bill style film without the shock or pizzazz.  Let this movie rest in peace.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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