“The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996) dir. Renny Harlin / scr. Shane Black

One of the most sadly underrated films of the 1990s was the intense action film “The Long Kiss Goodnight.”

The premise is a damn intriguing one. A single-mom school teacher in her mid-30s with amnesia suddenly remembers her past life as a deadly assassin. Her past comes back to haunt her when former enemies seek her demise and come after her and her young daughter. A detective / ex-con assists her in determining her prior identity and to help protect her. Though once she remembers her old skills, she doesn’t need much help.

Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson play the schoolteacher and detective, respectively, and do a great job. According to Wikipedia, in 2012, Jackson said this was his favorite role of all-time. It’s a damn good and hard-edged action thriller, far grittier and violent than its premise would indicate. And while it got respectful (but not great) notices from critics and did OK at the box office, it was considered a flop, given its high budget.

The film was initially fairly notorious, because the original script, by “Lethal Weapon” and “The Last Boy Scout” scribe Shane Black, sold for $4 million (the highest amount ever paid for a spec script). New LIne Cinema (the studio that bought the script) was so enamored with Black’s words that … of course … had the script rewritten … and rewritten … and rewritten.

Fortunately, enough of Black’s original vision was in the final product to make it a very, very good film. Far better than the conventional Hollywood action film. However, the original script is far darker … and better, in my opinion. You can read it here:


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