Once Roger Moore had finally given up playing 007, a new actor was needed. Pierce Brosnan was about to take up the mantle but was suddenly required to do other things and so Timothy Dalton was called in. The Welsh actor plays an entirely different type of Bond from his predecessor. Moore was camp and comedic, Dalton is dark and violent. He is closer to the novels than the Bond’s before him and embraces the 80’s action movie genre more too. The results are mixed. Neither film is stellar but neither film is terrible.
The Living Daylights (1987)
For starters, don’t ask me what the plot is for this film. There’s a lot of twists and turns and many different players and people behind the scenes. It doesn’t make a heap of sense but it has something to do with opium, I know that much. Let’s focus on the other stuff instead.
Dalton is a good Bond, but not a great one. He’s confident and efficient, but not all that classy our suave. He is more of a real secret agent type than Connery and Moore before him. The rest of the cast are okay, but nobody is standout or amazing or anything. Nothing is monumental about this film really. The song is okay. A-Ha are a strange choice for a Bond theme, but then isn’t everyone?!
The action is decent. There’s a great Aston Martin chase, a weird ski/cello chase, horses, planes. There’s some good stuff. Just nothing amazing. The henchman is just another big blonde guy (the standard boring henchman archetype) and the bad guy(s) are forgettable. There’s no amazing one liners or set pieces really. It’s a strange one. One of the very middling Bond movies. Hard to talk about much really…
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5
Licence to Kill (1989)
This is an interesting Bond movie. It’s one of the Bond movies that hops on board with current trends and themes. Meaning, this is a violent, 80’s revenge movie. The movie sees Bond’s best buddy Felix Leiter half eaten bu sharks and Bond leaving MI6 to track down the attacker.
That attacker is drug kingpin Robert Davi, who is menacing and yet larger than life. He’s a pretty crazy villain. Crazy in his mental state that is, not character-wise. He’s also being tracked down by Chinese ninja, of course. Because what is an 80’s action movie without some martial arts? It makes for some crazy action sequences. Not good, but crazy. Ever wanted to see Bond drive on the side wheels of a lorry? You got it! Want a badass female agent who becomes incompetent as soon as she meets superhero James Bond? Done! Want some pretty gory deaths that’ll make you wince in horror? Really? You do? Right… Well lucky for you that’s in there!
Look, this is a pretty corny movie. It’s dark and action filled and a bit dumb. But it’s kinda fun. It’s another Bond movie that you could just stick on in the background whilst you do something else. It does get bonus points for having the always great Desmond Llewelyn appear as Q in the field aiding 007 on the job. That’s a joy to see.
But really, this is still another middling movie. Just like Dalton’s Bond. He’s not bad but he’s in no way great. They did something different with the franchise and really it was ahead of its time. Craig’s Bond came at the right time whereas Dalton came after so many other great action movies before him. It’s unfortunate, but the movies just don’t stack up against other great Bond movies.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5