Friday, January 11, 2008

They're gonna blow my head off, you know. This is the last time I'll ever be pretty.

A Long Kiss Goodnight was maybe the worst cop film I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack because the movie would never end. Aside from the remarkable acting from both Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson, the plot of the film could be classified as a buddy cop movie. We were introduced to both Samantha and Mitch, given background history on their private lives, there were chase scenes on ice skates, and villains who they escaped. More so than any other cop film that we’ve watched Samantha and Mitch really depended on one another to solve the crime. The black man played a sidekick role who didn’t really know a lot about killing in comparison to trained assassin Samantha. Also instead of dealing with race and ethics, A Long Kiss Goodnight dealt a lot more with gender and sexuality. As a female lead cop character, Geena Davis’s names were very masculine. Charlie. Sam. After realizing that she really was a killer her feminine ways with the long curly hair and soft voice were no longer acceptable. She had to cut her hair to a boyish length and speak harshly in order to come off as a convincing killer. Charlie began to drink, smoke, curse, and be seductive. When captured the villains would take off clothing, she’d always have white underwear, and water would be involved. Needless to say that’s a sexual image. As a killer she couldn’t be motherly or have compassion for her family. Meanwhile Mitch was a man who wanted to care about his family but he was being rejected. Based on the criteria of what makes a man I would have to say that Geena Davis as Charlie deserves to be added to the list because she relentlessly takes care of business all while wearing massive amounts of eyeliner.

The Long Kiss Goodnight

I feel like the main issue that we’re going to have with this film during the discussion is class is going to be about whether or not it qualifies as a buddy cop film. It’s true that neither of the min characters, the buddy “cops”, are actually cops. From reading other people’s blogs it seems to me that this is the main issue that people have with fitting The Long Kiss Goodnight into the buddy cop film genre. My response to this is that I’m not sure that you have to be a police officer to qualify as a cop in the movies. I mean, there are plenty of movies that advertise themselves as a classic cop action movie when they hinge on a character in some sort of government role (like the FBI, or in this case the CIA). We also have various cop movies where one of the characters is a PI. I tend to see these movies as a little more believable based purely on the fact that if the character is not actually a cop, as an audience member, I’m more likely to excuse the unprofessional and uncoplike strategies and procedures.

As for whether this film is a buddy cop movie or not, I’m not sure. We seem to have quite a few of those elements present here. It appears that what we have here is another one of those films that was trying to redefine the genre. They include the classic scenes and characteristics—argument, bonding, action packed gunfights and explosions, a white villain, and a ransom figure. Although the film definitely takes a turn away from King based merely on the fact that the hero is a woman. I think that previous posters were right about how this was probably handled by the director by making Geena Davis appear more masculine.

As for race and gender in the film, I feel almost like race wasn’t mentioned at all. I think that the main focus, instead, was on Geena Davis’s gender. Especially because Mitch had previously associated her with a muffin baking schoolteacher, he seems to bring up her gender repeatedly until she proves herself. Only then does her femininity stop being a hold up. Besides that she is portrayed as being a sexual object at times, rather than a strong character. I don’t like this, but I guess it’s one of the trade offs for having a female action star. On one note, I’d like to point out that she wasn’t the only one of our heroes to end up half naked while she was being tortured (a la Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon).

The last thing that I want to say is that I know why the call it The Long Kiss Goodnight, it’s because they allow it to drag on twenty minutes longer than they should have. I was really enjoying the movie up until all of the craziness that was overdone at the end. I mean, seriously, how many characters are you going to have die and come back to life?

The Long Kiss Goodnight

The Long Kiss Goodnight has me wondering whether it really is a buddy cop film. Automatically I want to say no, but when I looked back at all the required scenes for that type of film, I felt like this movie had them. Such as a bonding moment, a chase scene with the villain, a mass shootout, smoking and alcohol, even the villain telling them the plan! There was definitely plenty of humor (at least an attempt at). So do I classify this film as a buddy cop movie…eh, I still don’t know. I mean, just because Charlie was really an agent before her amnesia, does that really make her count as a cop-type figure?

As far as looking at race in The Long Kiss Goodnight, I think it plays a very minimal role. It’s not as dramatic as Training Day. Samuel Jackson is the only black man in the whole movie – all the villains are even white. This is similar to Beverly Hills Cop and Se7en. A couple racial comments are brought up, such as when Charlie is trying to have sex with him, but she stopped not because he was black, but because he brought up another point about her “Samantha” life. I think race was there, but like a couple of the other movies we have looked at, I don’t think it affected the relationship between Charlie and him.


When listing Buddy Cop and action film stars one can often think of famous actors like Mel Gibson, Eddie Murphy and Danny Glover. Geena Davis doesn’t exactly come to mind. However, in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Geena Davis takes the role of the action hero and actually has a very prominent and known bad ass actor Samuel L. Jackson as a sidekick. Jackson plays a private investigator/con artist named Mitch, who seems actually earnest in helping Davis' character Samantha and later Charlie. Usually Jackson plays very intense bad ass, smart talking action rolls, in this movie he still does. This time, though, he is really more of a wannabe who tries to be badass. This movie is interesting because the main characters are not police officers. Mitch is a con artist and Charlie is a trained assassin who had just regained her memories. It is an unlikely combination, but that is what the essence of what Buddy cops movies are about. Mitch is a very interesting character, in a sense he feels sort of emasculated because of Charlie’s strength and knowledge as an assassin. He tries to overcompensate and tries to come to Charlie’s rescue sometimes causing more trouble for her. In the end he comes storming through in a car to rescue Charlie and her daughter from an exploding bridge. He does end up being quite heroic; even though it takes him quite a few tried to get it right. Mitch and Charlie seem to have a very good relationship. Even from the beginning Mitch seems to have a soft spot for Samantha, he is taken aback by Charlie and how dramatic her change in personality is, but Charlie’s intensity challenges Mitch to bring out his own intensity as well. The film puts race aside for a more gender aspect to the buddy style of film. The movie, as outrageous as it was, was filled with funny one liners and goofy dialogue.