It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
“The Long Kiss Goodnight” is a cinematic comic book, a series of biff!-BAM!-whack! action episodes, all more or less impossible, surrounding the larger-than-life characters. I liked it in the same way I might like an arcade game: It holds your attention until you run out of quarters, and then you wander away without giving it another thought.
Geena Davis, a good sport if ever there was one, stars as a woman who thinks she's a soccer mom named Samantha when actually she's a trained government assassin named Charly. She has forgotten her real identity because of “what the doctors call focal retrograde amnesia.” She leads a quiet life in a small town, even playing Mrs. Santa in the Christmas parade, until a TV broadcast and a violent car wreck begin to bring back her past.
Certainly it's a clue to her past life when she kills a deer by breaking its neck with her bare hands. And how about the kitchen scene when Samantha chops a carrot as if she'd never seen a knife before, and suddenly Charly takes over like a human Veg-O-Matic, pulverizing vegetables and then for her encore throwing a tomato in the air and skewering it to the wall with a deftly-thrown knife. “Chefs do that,” she explains to her stunned daughter and boyfriend.
She hires a fly-by-night private eye (Samuel L. Jackson) to track down her past, and he turns up clues that lead to a full-scale war with the U.S. intelligence establishment. Without giving away too much of the plot (as if, heh, heh, there was much of a plot), I'll say that bad guys think she was dead and now want to kill her, and she has to defend herself while having flashbacks to violent episodes in her past life.