Thursday, January 12, 2006

Be careful when KISSING girls

The Long Kiss Goodnight allows us to analyze not only the bi-racial buddy cop genre, but also the effects of a female hero. It is actually one of the few films King mentions as an exception to the general stereotypes of leading female warriors in cop flicks. Unlike the majority, Kiss gives Charley Baltimore a fair ass whippin', giving her no leniency for being a woman. In that sense, the movie does a wonderful job of establishing her credibility as a CIA Assassin because if she can take it like a man, she must be O.K. to do the job. This shows Hollywood's idea that one must act manly in order to be a CIA agent. When still a victim of her amnesia, Samantha Cane is a loving mom, wife, and teacher. In the early stages of remembering, when Charley emerges as the personality, her voice is deeper, movements are more rugged, and her belief system is hardened. This personality shines through as she fully becomes her old self and not until the near end of the movie does she somewhat combine the two different women into one, and eventually decide towards the feminine one of the two... now that she's done with the job. The only person in the movie who ever womanizes her is Mitch, her sidekick. He calls her a "foxy bitch" after she escapes from impending doom in Niagra Falls. Somehow this is acceptable because the film was produced during the 90s at a time where blacks are allowed to say whatever they want, no matter how degrading.

Charley and Mitch rapidly fall into the Hero and Sidekick stereotypes. Charley, as hero, has numerous break out fights and obviously has more experience and intelligence relating to the situation than her partner. Mitch, as sidekick, provides comic relief and never seems to be too sure of his combat skills. Charley is always asserting her dominance over him, uncharacteristic for a female in her role, and even kicks him out of a moving car when he expressing his feelings that she "doesn't need [him] anymore." In working together, the movie was careful to not "miscegenate" (King) the bi-racial pair. With a white woman as lead, it becomes easier for the black male to refuse her advances, considering that if the races were switched, sex would have been inevitable (King p 13). This demonstrates that race becomes an even more important underlying factor in movies where a woman plays the lead.


Blogger Vladigogo said...

You raise a good point about her being able to take it like a man.

How else does the film pursue this idea of Charlie taking it like a man? In other words, taking on masculine characteristics in order to be successful at her job?

6:07 PM  

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