I’m a massive fan of Renny Harlin’s output as an action director and this is one of his best. It’s probably Shane Black’s most underrated screenplay – it’s hysterical and violent and nasty and clever and witty and totally off its ass. Geena Davis was never sexier or as commanding on screen, and she paired beautifully with Samuel L. Jackson, who delivered one of his snappiest post Pulp Fiction performances as a sleazy private investigator who has to help Davis regain her memory and take up her old profession – that of a secret and deadly spy who has a team of mercenaries coming after her to wipe her out for good. A terrific supporting cast including Brian Cox, David Morse, Craig Bierko, Tom Amandes, and Melina Kanakaredes was on display, and as per usual for a big-budget Harlin action flick, the tech credits were utterly superb. Guillermo Navarro’s dynamic widescreen lensing was in perfect tandem with Harlin’s signature slick-and-gritty style (always felt that he was one of the better shooters of action, taking a page from Tony Scott’s handbook at times), and William Goldenberg’s propulsive editing proved to be a perfect match for Alan Silvestri’s appropriately bombastic and triumphant musical score. Black pocketed a big pay day for this spec script, and while the film wasn’t a smash hit in theaters, I know I can’t be alone in loving this wild and crazy late 90’s actioner that took full advantage of its hard R-rating, and it also has the added benefit of taking place at Christmas (a Black staple) and featuring action in the SNOW, which I always LOVE.


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