Assembly Line Bookends, Almost Got-It Middle
It's interesting that I've so recently reviewed The Bourne Identity as The Long Kiss Goodnight has a strikingly similiar plot.
Here, our amnesiac is Gena Davis rather than Matt Damon, and instead of relentlessly pursuing her past out of the gate, she settled into a life as wife and mother. The role seems to work well for her, but the past life as a spy catches up shortly after the start of the film. Samuel L. Jackson is the "low rent" private detective who's been looking for clues to her past, but he's soon out of his league as professionals start showing up to kill his client. As our former spy gets her memory back, we find things have turned upside down in the spy world, and friends, enemies, and priorities have changed down the line.
I think this film took the more interesting angle than Bourne did - focusing on the experience of awakening to one's identity. Sure these two personalities are as stereotyped as everyone else in the movie, but it's at least interesting to watch. There's some good humor in here - nobody taking this exercise too seriously. It all ends in typical flames and gunbattles with just enough inventiveness to keep one's attention.
Davis is good in this semi-dual role, managing the boundaries between the personalities well, and is believable in both - though the stereotypes on both sides makes this a slightly dubious achievement. Jackson is his usual workman self, sprinkling a few subtleties here and there, but again, the conventions of the genre basically get in the way of some real interactions.
The movie is rather watchable, and makes for a fine tossaway action/spy vehicle, though an unspectacular one.
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