film, James Bond

Movie Review: Licence To Kill

Without question the darkest Bond film in the franchise. It also served as the final film for Timothy Dalton as Bond, Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny and Robert Brown as M. If this is what happens when Bond takes things personally, I do NOT want to be on his bad side. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond and Felix Leiter (David Hedison returning from Live and Let Die) are on their way to Felix’s wedding when they get a call that drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) is in the area. A quick stop there and Sanchez is captured. However shortly after Felix and his wife Della (Priscilla Barnes) marry, Sanchez bribes DEA agent Ed Killifer (Everett McGill) for his freedom. Sanchez and his henchman Dario (Benicio Del Toro) take Felix to an aquarium owned by Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe), an associate of Sanchez. Bond hears Sanchez escaped and arrives to find Felix maimed, courtesy of a tiger shark, and Della dead and possibly raped. Bond and a friend Sharkey (Frank McRae) investigate leading to the aquarium and discover Sanchez’s submarine used for smuggling cocaine. Bond kills Killifer by forcing him to drop into the shark tank. An angry M demands Bond report to his mission and Bond resigns to go after Sanchez. M instead suspends him and revokes his licence to kill. Bond, along with a friend of Felix at the CIA Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), an unauthorized Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Sanchez’s mistress Lupe (Talisa Soto), aim to stop Sanchez once and for all.

As I said this is the darkest Bond in the entire franchise, and with good reason. While I admit the writing could have been better in a few places and a couple of things don’t make sense the characters make up for it. Bond is a man without anything to lose and it shows; I personally think between Dalton’s two performances as 007 this is his better one. My thoughts on Pam will be later so I’d like to focus on the others. Lupe is a pretty good Bond girl, admittedly very damsel and “oh James”, but nonetheless she gave Pam a run for her money as who would Bond end up with. Sanchez is one of my favorite villains in the Bond franchise; he is so evil, creepy and overall just a good bad guy. I don’t see him on many top Bond villains list; which I understand there are better villains, but I still love to hate this guy. While this was not his first film Del Toro stood out as the maniacal Dario; on a side note Dario and Sanchez’s death are two of the most gruesome/spectacular in the franchise along with Krest. Brown’s final appearance as M really packed a punch and I was  disappointed for two reasons. When Bond flees M prevents someone from shooting him not because he cared but because “there are too many people”, come on really. Also there seems to be no reconciliation at the end of the movie even though Felix says m has a job for Bond. Bliss is only on screen for probably two minutes, and not the best Moneypenny, but if it wasn’t for her Q wouldn’t have been there to help. This is my favorite Q performance out of Llewellyn because he basically defies orders to help Bond out, showing as much as he gets annoyed at him Q has a soft spot for 007, I also liked his scenes with Pam. While I would not say Licence to Kill should be placed high on a recommendation list, I would still say if you like the Bond franchise then watch this movie.

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film, James Bond

Movie Review: The Living Daylights

The start of only two films with Timothy Dalton as our favorite secret agent, and well I can understand why this film and he is not the most memorable of the Bond franchise. As always spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond is assigned and is successful is the defection of General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe), a KGB general at a concert, not without noticing the apparent assassin is one of female cellists and she did not appear to know what she was doing. During a debriefing Koskov reminds Bond that General Leonid Pushkin (John Rhys-Davis), now in charge of the KGB has revived Smiert Spionam (Death to Spies, which was not the first time Bond has noticed in the film). Koskov is then captured and assumed taken back to Russia. Bond tracks down the assassin, Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo), Koskov’s girlfriend and confirms what he suspected: the defection was staged. Confronting Pushkin, Bond discovers Koskov is evading arrest for embezzling government funds, has lied about how evil Pushkin is, and is working with an arms dealer Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker who we will see again in a couple of Bond films) whom I would describe as a guy who thinks he’s a war hero but is not even close. Bond eventually convinces Kara how awful Koskov is. Koskov, along with his henchman Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) takes them to Afghanistan to be imprisoned, but they escape along with the leader of a local Mujahideen Kamran Shah (Art Malik) where they discover Koskov’s true plans: using the Soviet funds to buy opium and not only keep the money but supply enough weapons for both the Soviets and Whitaker’s business. Bond, Kara, Shah’s men, and a small assistance from Felix Leiter (John Terry) make sure that plan never comes to fruition.

Timothy Dalton as Bond is probably the second worst, or fourth best depending on how you look at it. I think he did an OK job in this film, personally I liked him in the next film but that’s another day. While the film itself is not too memorable I did not think it was too bad. It does have some great action sequences, I personally liked the chemistry between Bond and Kara, my thoughts on her will be later, and the villains are not too bad. I gotta be honest it is hard to decide who is the true villain in this film. It seems like it is Koskov, but I’ve heard some say it is Whitaker, either way not the most memorable. This was also the debut of Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny, and sadly she is not the best, why she is hanging around Q branch I don’t know and her sighing after Bond doesn’t help. If there was one actor I like in this film it was Davis, then again I really like that actor so it helps. While it is not a bad Bond film, I would not put this too high on a recommendation list.

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