Friday, January 13, 2006

The Long Cliche Good Night

Watching The Long Kiss Good Night in class was a strange experience. It was strange because while watching the film, although I had never seen it, it felt as if I had seen it a million times before. The reason why was simple. The movie is crammed with every action/adventure cliché ever done before. This movie was definitely one of those over-the-top holiday time stuffed pointless action movies. The movie overall had several comical flaws. I have made a list of some of the mistakes and clichés parts of the movie.
The first subject I wanted to write about was the poor use of editing in the film. Editing is often the most overlooked issue in filmmaking. This movie had terrible editing. I was surprised to see that Brian Cox was in the movie. Cox is a great, elderly actor and has been in a lot of great roles. This role was not one of them. His part of Dr. Nathan Waldman was almost completely out of the plot structure of the movie. I was amazed by the limited use of his character in the film. First off, his character is placed in a terrible situation. Having thought his beloved hitwoman and mentee dead for eight years one day he gets a call out of the blue from her. Not knowing his phone is somehow tapped Dr. Waldman agrees to met Davis’ character at a train station. Then after he saves the two at the station Samuel L. bashes him in the head with a crowbar and they speed off leaving Cox for dead. This is the most amusing part of the film because somehow Cox walks all the way to a random farm and sneaks attacks Jackson. After a brief discussion about scribbled penises in Jackson’s notebook Cox realizes that Davis has fallen right into the trap of the evil henchmen. Then about fifty men with automatics come running around (from where?) and by the next scene you realize that Cox’s character is dead in a underground torture pit. The only real use of his character was to give the bad guys a way of tracing her. The greatest irony for him is that after training Charley to be such a great, fearless killer she does about everything wrong to get him killed.
Another subject I thought it would be fun to dive into was the use of villainy in the movie. The villains were so over-the-top that it was hilarious. Often their motives were unknown to the audience and about as off as their ability to aim while firing a weapon. The main villain issues with Davis remained unknown. What was it that drove the two apart those years before. Why would the villain have no interest in the possibility of having a daughter. The villains also were unbelievably hard to kill (unless you have a cherry pie). My favorite act of villainy was in the beginning of the movie when the man with one eye unexplicably arrives at Davis’ house somehow getting knowledge of her address and of course the routine escape from prison.
This movie did have one great thing working for it. The explosions were big and plentiful. Samuel L. Jackson was personally thrown through two two-story windows somehow surviving both. Also the little girl having matches to light a candle when she is kidnapped is a good lesson to toddlers out there. Carry fire on you and you can get yourself and mommy out of a locked freezer with a little demolition. The end of the movie was fitting as well. The only way the villain could have died would have been in a nuclear explosion. Also the fight on the ledge was a great unneeded part in the film.
The use of setting was the final good issue I wanted to discuss. Most of the time I had no idea of where the two were going or where they were currently at. In one part they are staying in a lavish hotel room. Pretty nice place for a hustler and a kindergarten teacher. My favorite use of misplaced setting was towards the end of the film. Samuel L. is bleeding all over the place laying in the snow possibly believed to be dead. Then suddenly he is inside a car in a big storage truck and is able to race out of the truck and magically knows exactly where to drive.
I realize I am being hard on this movie, but the clichés were amazing. Between the explosions, torture methods, undieable villains this movie was great. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.


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