The Long Kiss Goodnight comes to Region Free US Blu-ray complete with a 1080p High Definition video rendition, presented in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Whilst it doesn’t appear to have been remastered, the image is still far better than on any SD-DVD release that I have come across, with none of the imposing edge enhancement and comparative softness which I associate with said releases. Detail is generally very good indeed, both of close-ups and longer shots, with the only remaining softer moments coming across as more out of intentional camerawork than dodgy transfer presentation, and only a hint of the aforementioned edge enhancement still evident here. There’s a nice layer of filmic grain pervading the piece, which has much the same look and style to Harlin’s earlier movies – Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2 – in that it’s far from CSI-clinical, but looks good in its own way. The colour scheme is reasonably broad, depending on the setting, as we go from the warm family scenario, full of browns and creams, to the red-dominated fare, to the icy blue flashbacks, with successively elaborate explosions lighting up the screen along the way. Towards the latter end we’re talking about almost all night-set sequences, and blacks come across as rich and solid, although I did notice a little crush. I couldn’t detect any other overt defects, nor evidence of imposing digital processing, and whilst this is far from a demo-quality release, it’s also easily the best that the 15 year-old movie has ever looked.
The Long Kiss Goodnight boasts a reasonably bombastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which perfectly suits the explosive nature of this action-packed thriller. Whilst coming up a bit short in terms of nuance, the material simply does not require that level of acute observation, instead, in being driven by witty, snappy dialogue, and elaborate set-pieces, it’s no surprise that the track follows suits, presenting dialogue clearly and coherently throughout the piece – largely from across the frontal array – and giving us great all-round atmospherics during the action sequences, which truly bring the surrounds to life. Things can get a bit quiet at other times, but normally there’s score or key dialogue to keep the track going, and it really is unlikely to disappoint at the action-packed end of the spectrum because of the nature of the material. Bass is also prevalent during these moments, and fans will surely be pleased with what is a great aural presentation that would have been demo quality had it had a little more precision and atmospheric observation. Nice.
Unsurprisingly, but also quite disappointingly, Warner Bros. haven’t bothered to include anything in the way of extras apart from the Theatrical Trailer, which is pretty-much all we got on the previous SD-DVD release. I can’t imagine some of these back catalogue titles have much extra material which could possibly be included, but it is still a damn shame that they don’t get more love than this. How hard can it be to have a small making-of Featurette and maybe some extra footage?
The Long Kiss Goodnight may be a leave-your-disbelief-at-the-door, all-out action-thriller, which is largely indistinguishable, in terms of explosive set-pieces and balletic gunplay, from all of the rest of the 90s action-thrillers of its generation, but it also boasts a great script from one of my favourite screenwriters – Shane Black – as well as decent character performances from all those involved, not least Sam Jackson, who is on expectedly great form. Without the script, and without the subsequent great, eminently quotable dialogue from the two mismatched leads (Jackson and an uncharacteristically action-orientated and, frankly, damn sexy Geena Davis), this would be just another throwaway generic actioner. Thankfully Shane Black’s work – however much it may have been rewritten during production – still stands out and makes this an unusually fun ride, the style of the script easily making up for the relative lack of substance in the story.
On Region Free US Blu-ray we get good video and audio, easily a step up from SD-DVD although far from the remastered demo-quality that some back-catalogue titles are now receiving, as well as a distinct lack of extras. I know that it’s fairly poorly-received movie, which barely broke even at the box office, but it would have been nice to have a little bit more than just the damn trailer. Shane Black fans, witty script fans, Sam Jackson fans and action movie fans should all be queuing up for this quality movie. It was never going to be a-list material, but it’s still a whole load of fun, and should be enjoyed as such. And if Sam Jackson’s lines don’t make you laugh once throughout the entire proceedings, and the action doesn’t keep you reasonably entertained between the moments of excellent dialogue, then you’re a tough customer to please. As R-rated mid-90s action-thrillers go, this is undoubtedly one of the better efforts.
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