The Long Kiss Goodnight
|The Long Kiss Goodnight|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Renny Harlin|
|Produced by||Stephanie Austin
|Written by||Shane Black|
Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Editing by||William Goldenberg|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release date(s)||October 11, 1996|
|Running time||120 minutes|
Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a mother and schoolteacher with a seemingly normal life in the small town of Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Eight years previously, she was found pregnant and badly injured, suffering complete amnesia after being found washed up on a beach in New Jersey. Since that time, she has hired a series of private investigators to try to uncover her past with no success, the latest (and one of the few she can afford) being wisecracking, ethically challenged private investigator Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson). When television footage of a parade she participated in is broadcast, a one-eyed convict, "One-Eyed" Jack (Joseph McKenna), recognizes her immediately and escapes on a mission of revenge.
Caine is injured in a car accident when her car hits a deer in the middle of the road and crashes into a tree, and begins displaying unexpected skills and ruthlessness, manifesting in surprising knife-wielding abilities and uncharacteristic harshness directed toward her daughter Caitlin (Yvonne Zima). When Jack suddenly attacks her, she dispatches him by shoving a pie in his face and then with lethal self-defense skills she was not aware she possessed, culminating in snapping his neck with a cold-blooded rabbit punch.
Meantime, Henessey has had a break in her case—a suitcase has been found in the attic of a boarding house Caine briefly stayed at years before, discovered after the landlady died. With Henessey and information found in the suitcase, Caine seeks out Dr. Nathan Waldman (Brian Cox). During the trip, Caine discovers a disassembled Remington 700 in a hidden compartment in the suitcase and smoothly assembles it out of conditioned reflex. Though Henessey displays strong misgivings at where the situation is headed (in large part because he was sent to prison some years before and has no wish to return), Caine talks him into pressing on. When they meet Waldman, he reveals that Caine is really Charlene Elizabeth "Charly" Baltimore, an assassin for the CIA who had disappeared eight years prior. Henessey is doubtful of this, as well as Waldman's sanity, until armed men who've been narrowing in on them begin shooting. Caine/Baltimore's skills help them escape.
Baltimore and Henessey drive to an isolated farm to visit Luke (David Morse), a man to whom a note in the suitcase led her to believe she was engaged. They learn too late that Luke, aka "Daedalus", was actually a target she was assigned to assassinate eight years earlier (her making contact with the target, "engaging" him, was the ambiguous clue she misinterpreted). Daedalus is pleasantly surprised that Baltimore, Henessey, and Waldman have delivered themselves to him. Waldman is killed, Henessey is imprisoned and beaten, while Baltimore is tortured for information: She is stripped down to her slip, bra, and panties, bound with rope by her hands and feet to a waterwheel, and repeatedly lowered into ice cold water until near drowning. During this process, her real identity fully resurfaces. She retrieves a gun from Waldman's body (which his body is in the water), uses it to shoot and kill Daedalus, escapes, kills his henchmen, and frees Henessey.
Although Charly Baltimore initially disdains her life as 'Samantha Caine' (this being her cover story when she set out to kill Daedalus years before and the personality she mistakenly adopted after her injury), Henessey forces her to recognize that she actually liked her time as Samantha as it was the first time she was truly content with herself.
While attempting to resolve her conflicted feelings about her past, Baltimore discovers that her former boss at the CIA, Leland Perkins (Patrick Malahide), has allied with a psychological-operations specialist named Timothy (Craig Bierko), who is a former lover of Charly, in a false flag plot to detonate a chemical bomb in downtown Niagara Falls, New York, frame "Islamic" terrorists for the crime, and thus secure more funding. She and a still-reluctant Henessey set out to thwart the plot and rescue Caitlin, who has been kidnapped on Perkins' order while his henchmen were trying to kill Baltimore.
Baltimore and Henessey attack the operation's staging area, where the truck bomb is being prepared. Along the way, Baltimore confronts Timothy with her now-restored memories of how she was shot in the head and left for dead by Jack (during this attack, she stabbed Jack in the eye, partly blinding him; hence the name "One-Eyed Jack") and reveals to Timothy that Caitlin is in fact "his" daughter. Timothy is dubious until he looks in Caitlin's eyes, recognizing their similarity to his own, but decides to kill Baltimore and Caitlin anyway and continue the operation. However, the mother-and-daughter escapes the freezer, causing an explosion and thwarting Timothy's attempt to execute Henessey. Henessey, who is badly bleeding due to the force of the explosion, finds a pistol and shoots at Timothy's henchmen to cover Caitlin as she hides in a bomb truck, but is wounded in the process. Baltimore then chases the truck as she is tailed. The truck rolls and crashes Timothy's car. Unfortunately, Timothy's body is revealed to be a double and haves an intense fight, with Timothy being washed away, but Baltimore wounded. Baltimore rescues Caitlin from the bomb truck after she dispatches two of Timothy's men in a helicopter shooting at the truck. Timothy arrives and shoots at Baltimore, but she grabs a machine gun from one of his henchmen's burning body and she manages to shoot him, causing him to fall onto the truck and killing him. She, Caitlin, and Henessey escapes as the truck explodes, destroying the bridge.
In an epilogue, Baltimore has returned to her assumed identity as Samantha Caine, declining an offer to rejoin the CIA. For his part, Henessey enjoys the publicity attracted by his role in the crisis, and is last seen being interviewed by Larry King.
- Geena Davis as Samantha Caine/Charlene Elizabeth "Charly" Baltimore
- Samuel L. Jackson as Mitch Henessey
- Patrick Malahide as Leland Perkins
- Craig Bierko as Timothy
- Brian Cox as Dr. Nathan Waldman
- David Morse as Luke/Daedalus
- G. D. Spradlin as President
- Tom Amandes as Hal
- Yvonne Zima as Caitlin Caine
- Melina Kanakaredes as Trin
- Alan North as Earl
The screenplay was written by Shane Black, who was at the start of the 1990s one of the highest-paid scriptwriters in Hollywood. According to Black, the script he penned was heavily re-written by script doctors.
The film was shot throughout Ontario, Canada. Many notable and well-known spots can be picked out throughout. Filming took place in Toronto, Hamilton, Collingwood, Milton, Uxbridge, Wasaga Beach, Unionville and at Windermere House in Muskoka.
Of all the films he has made, director Renny Harlin says The Long Kiss Goodnight is his favourite. In a 2012 interview with Nuts magazine, Jackson stated the same.
In an early cut Mitch Henessey dies, but in a test screening an audience member shouted "You can't kill Sam Jackson!" and Harlin changed the final cut so that his character survives.
In the film's opening release, it grossed $9,065,363 from 2,245 theaters, placing third for the films that released that weekend. In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $33,447,612. Internationally it earned $56,009,149 for a total worldwide gross of $89,456,761.
The film received mainly positive reviews. It holds a 67% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 53 reviews (35 positive, 17 negative). Christine James from Boxoffice gave the film 3 and a half out of 5 stars, calling it "a lot of fun" however noting some weaknesses in the script. Roger Ebert gave the film 2 and a half out of 4 stars, stating "I admired it as an example of craftsmanship, but what a lot of time and money to spend on something of no real substance."
- Jordan, Pat (April 26, 2012). "How Samuel L. Jackson Became His Own Genre". The New York Times.
- "The Long Kiss Goodnight". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- The Long Kiss Goodnight Rotten Tomatoes profile
- The Long Kiss Goodnight review James, Christine. Boxoffice.com
- The Long Kiss Goodnight review Ebert, Roger
- The Long Kiss Goodnight at the Internet Movie Database
- The Long Kiss Goodnight at AllRovi
- The Long Kiss Goodnight at Box Office Mojo
- The Long Kiss Goodnight at Rotten Tomatoes