By Chris Nashawaty
Updated April 27, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
Everett Collection

Because he’s done so much to reinvigorate cinema, Steven Soderbergh is one of those filmmakers who sometimes seem to get a free pass from critics. When his female-driven action dud Haywire (2012, R, 1 hr., 33 mins.) hit theaters in January, it wasn’t slammed for being a lousy movie, it was forgiven as Soderbergh’s ”experiment in genre filmmaking” (which is an awfully highfalutin way to avoid saying that the experiment failed). Either way, Hollywood’s been a little lax lately in cranking out kick-ass heroines like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens and Geena Davis in one of my personal faves, The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996, R, 1 hr., 54 mins.). Directed by Davis’ then hubby, Renny Harlin, this bat-crap insane explosionfest couldn’t be more ridiculous. But it’s also fun as hell, thanks to Shane Black’s (Lethal Weapon) cartoonishly quippy script, which packs more tough-guy one-liners than a dozen Schwarzenegger flicks. Davis plays Samantha Caine, a square suburban schoolteacher who snaps out of an eight-year bout of amnesia to discover that she used to be a ruthlessly sexy CIA assassin. As the agency sics its most sadistic hitmen on her, she hits the road with Samuel L. Jackson’s chain-smoking private detective until she can remember why they want her dead. I know, I know, you’ve seen this movie before (probably with the name Bourne in the title, too). But trust me, no one dishes out the pain like Davis’ Samantha Caine. The Long Kiss Goodnight: B+