Take a Drink: when one of Bond’s allies gets killed
Take a Drink: any time the Cello is mentioned
Take a Drink: when General Pushkin is named (because his name is fun to say… Pushkin)
Do a Shot: for the titular line
Do a Shot: any time the Afghani Rebels remind you that most of these guys probably are either dead or fighting the West now as part of the Taliban. Because… politics!
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
British super-spy James Bond (Timothy Dalton) aids in the defection of a Soviet KGB Officer Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé), only to discover that the Officer may have had ulterior motives for his actions. Koskov is collaborating with a black market arms dealer, the self-styled American “General” Bradley Whitaker (Joe Don Baker), who in truth has never served in any army, but has the money to command a private one. Whitaker and Koskov have concocted a scheme to play both the British and the Russians against each other for personal profit. Meanwhile, Bond investigates, using Koskov’s girlfriend & Cellist Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo) as a way to find out more about Koskov; as he convinces her that he knows where he is, she unwittingly leads Bond to his target.
James Bond returns, but this time the aging Roger Moore is replaced by Timothy Dalton, a character actor who by the late 1980s was already a respected performer in film, television, and on stage.
Dalton brings a decidedly more human approach to the character, eschewing the hammier aspects of recent Bond films such as Octopussy and A View to a Kill in favor of a somewhat more realistic story and more developed characters. Solid supporting performances from character actors Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, and John Rhys-Davies help to lend believability to the story, while John Glen’s solid direction falls in stark contrast to the past two bond efforts (which Glen paradoxically also helmed).
It is never made fully clear what the ultimate aims of General Koskov and Whitaker’s scheming was meant to accomplish, other than to make a bunch of money. Granted, that’s more than enough excuse for most villains, but with the kinds of high-stakes risks they’re taking, they would likely have been better off just going to a casino, and since they’re Soviets, they might as well play Russian Roulette…
While it is clear that the filmmakers are trying to give the film a more believable tone, there are some remnants of the considerably sillier Roger Moore era which are hard to ignore. Such as the car chase sequence in which Bond crashes into a shed and takes the whole shed with him as he drives, and the villain Whitaker’s military museum in his mansion, which is full of wax sculptures of famous Generals, all bearing striking… similarities…
Bond obsessives might dismiss these moments, but an outsider may find these moments break up the genuine tension and distract from some of the heavier moments in the film.
Timothy Dalton brings humanity to the Bond franchise not seen in a decade. While the story meanders a bit, there is much to recommend in this highly underrated Bond film.