Davis is an amnesiac school teacher who has flashbacks to a violent past and decides it's time to discover her former self when she is forced to stab an intruder. She enlists the help of Jackson, bent cop turned private eye, and they find themselves in a government conspiracy that revolves around evil an Bierko and a slimy Malahide.
After the dire Cutthroat Island, Geena Davis might have thought twice before working for hubby Harlin again, but this is a far more effective vehicle for them both, and has the advantage of a sharp and playful script by Lethal Weapon creator Shane Black.
Davis plays the frumpy Samantha Caine, an amnesiac schoolteacher and mother mired in suburbia. Unable to recall much beyond the present, Caine starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks that reveal a woman with a penchant for extreme violence. When she's forced to kill an intruder in the kitchen, she decides it's time to leave the burbs and try to discover exactly what sort of person she was before her memory loss. To help her, she recruits the superbly seedy Jackson, a bent cop turned private eye, and soon they're caught up in a classically paranoid government conspiracy being run by the gleefully evil Bierko and a slimy Patrick Malahide.
Shot against the freezing backdrop of an East Coast winter, much of the fun comes from the pairing of Davis and Jackson and the way Shane Black flips their roles - Jackson is the perfect sidekick, allowing Davis to show that she can be a convincing action heroine. Harlin too seems happier amid the ice and snow, skilfully setting up some spectacular sequences including a frantic confrontation at a train station and a suitably over-the-top finale at the US-Canadian border. Of course, it doesn't all work: there are too many "meaningful" close-ups of cigarettes being lit and drinks downed, while the sound is so loud that it threatens to pop eardrums. But there's always the saving grace of Black's witty, high speed screenplay, as well as the intriguing prospect of Davis presenting a serious challenge to the likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone as a bona fide action star.
Most of the fun comes from the Davis/Jackson pairing and some frantic action scenes, though problems include too many "meaningful" close-ups of cigarettes being lit and booming (appropriately) sound.