Take a Drink: for drugs
Take a Drink: for shark and/or Sharkey appearances (Pouring one out where appropriate)
Take a Drink: for cash flying about willy-nilly
Take a Drink: for surprisingly hardcore kills
Do a Shot: for nightmarish fish
By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
With The Living Daylights, Timothy Dalton put a much more serious stamp on the iconic role of 007 after the past decade of Roger Moore… ahem… clowning around.
I’m sorry, I had to.
Obviously, this approach was going to do well. I mean, just ask George Lazenby…
Licence to Kill certainly appears to continue the more grounded approach of the previous installment, with the soon to be standard Bond resigning from MI6 to pursue revenge arc first introduced. That revenge, for a brutal attack on friend Felix Leiter and his wife, soon leads to a power-hungry drug dealer with dreams of world domination and a sweet jungle base to boot. Yep, this comes from the director of 8 Bond flicks and the writers of 5/13.
Nobody can deny that the stunt-work in the franchise remains top notch at this point, enhanced by Dalton’s penchant for doing his own stunts. From an insane beginning airborne sequence that would go on to inspire one of Christopher Nolan’s best, to underwater sequences nodding to the Connery era, to a dizzying big rig Mad Max-lite, explosion-heavy chase sequence at the end, there is no bone to pick with the action. This may have been John Glen’s last turn in the 007 director’s chair, but he went out on a high note.
The music returns to the positive side of the ledger, with a solid theme from Gladys Knight nodding to Goldfinger and a nice orchestral score by Michael Komen. I also liked the satirical corporatization of evil angle with the young MBA constantly on the villain’s case about profit margin.
Plus, Baby Benicio!
Timothy Dalton was quite underrated in the role- showing a tender-hearted side that clashed with his frayed, desperate mien as the deck stacks against him. In many ways, he’s the most recognizably human Bond we’ve seen, which honestly might have been the problem.
Finally, a toast to Robert Brown’s M and Caroline Bliss’s Moneypenny in their final turns at (cricket) bat. They were arguably as important to the success of the franchise as anyone.
This ups the ante even more on the darker tone of The Living Daylights, starting to resemble generic 80s actioners in the Seagal/Norris mold more than anything. Robert Davi in particular would not have looked out of place getting slow-motion roundhouse kicked in the finale.
Billy Drago must not have been available
This is the rare Bond plot that you feel you need to pay attention to, but it’s still convoluted, overwrought, and full of cheesy touches otherwise out of pace with the rest of the film, like semi-truck wheelies, random Ninjas, and Total Recall-style exploding heads for starters.
Carey Lowell, as Bond Girl Pam Bouvier, is neither fish nor fowl. Somehow she’s simultaneously a strong independent woman and a complete airhead. Whatever she is, she’s annoying.
Jekyll & Doofus
Different approach, same beer rating. Dalton certainly didn’t get his fair shake as Bond, but perhaps the upcoming revitalization of the series had more to do with putting John Glen, Michael Wilson, and Richard Maibaum out to pasture.