Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Renny Harlin Week: The Long Kiss Goodnight

A better metaphor is not available.  After a bit of success in America with films like Cliffhanger, Harlin was given a little leeway to create something of his own.  It didn't hurt that they had a Screenplay by Shane Black, the Writer of Lethal Weapon and The Monster Squad.  As a bonus, Harlin was able to cast his then-wife Geena Davis in the lead.  The film is...well, it's The Bourne Identity.  Granted, this film is probably a closer match to Point of No Return, but the framing is more like Bourne.  The plot is pretty easy to decipher if you know either of those films, so I won't waste too much time with it.  I will mention that the film was a Critical success, but lost money for the studio.  Naturally, they gave him even more money to make Cutthroat Island...but more on that later.  To see the start of Harlin's downfall, read on...
Our heroine has amnesia and has no idea why she's covered in scars.  She's been living a quiet life with a kid (who she was pregnant with when she first work up) and there's no way that it could possibly go awry.
Through a series of events, she ends up in a car wreck and a chip falls out of her head.  This sets her up on a path to find out who she truly is.
Unbeknownst to her, a high-up conspiracy is discussed in the White House.  How does it relate to our amnesiac heroine?
The film's cast is full of notable names, even if they weren't as famous then.  Hi, Brian Cox!
Our heroine goes through some changes as she tries to get to the source of her past.

You'll notice that my Screen Caps change to Widescreen.  Long story short- Netflix's DVD of TLKG is kind of crappy.
Craig Bierko is here playing the villainous henchman and the father of Davis' baby.  He does a good job here...but it's distracting since I mostly know him from Scary Movie 4 and Boston Legal.
Here's the reason that I delayed this review: the Third Act Plot Reveal features a Government Official saying that they will fake a terror attack to get military funding.

Yeah, I didn't plan for this at all.  Don't bother trying to find good TLKG clips on YouTube either- you'll just find this scene.
Davis and Bierko battle against rear-projection backgrounds before our heroine finally wins the day.  So much for the Custody Hearing!
Our heroes win the day and survive to live happily ever after.  Jackson in particular can thank test audiences for that fact- he died in the original cut.  The End.
Dear God, it's...not that bad.  Don't get me wrong- the movie isn't great.  I would say that the movie is good in a lot of ways, but doesn't do a whole lot that's unique.  They basically hired Shane Black to turn 'The Bourne Identity' into a Feminist Action film.  Beyond that, the movie doesn't do a whole lot.  The biggest thing you can say about it is that it tries to represent Davis' character struggling to be herself.  As she learns more about her killer past, she tries to distance herself from her normal woman self.  That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, however, since the former doesn't represent a big bit of escapism that one might desire.  Instead, she just kind of comes off as callous for a bit, especially when she initially appears to abandon Samuel L. Jackson's character.  It all comes around, of course, but I don't see what the point of it really is.  Aside from that, the action is mostly-good, the writing is good (naturally) and it's generally-decent.  If I had a halfway-decent Disc, I might have actually been able to watch it more smoothly.  This does set my sights slightly-higher for Cutthroat Island, which is probably going to be bad.  Take us away, bad-ass ice skating...
Next up, Renny Harlin makes a film about shirtless men that use magic.  Somewhere, David DeCoteau is perking up his ears.  Stay tuned...

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