"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Licence to Kill

One summer of ’89 joint that seems older than most of the others is Timothy Dalton 007 movie #2 of 2, LICENCE TO KILL. It’s got a definite ’80s action influence in that James Bond is supposed to turn in his proverbial badge and actual gun (he keeps the gun though) and goes rogue to get revenge on a Colombian drug lord named Sanchez (Robert Davi, CITY HEAT, RAW DEAL, ACTION JACKSON, DIE HARD), who has invented a novel way to smuggle cocaine (mixed with gasoline). And the theme by Gladys Knight and end credits song by Patti Labelle could probly slip onto a BEVERLY HILLS COP soundtrack without causing a scene. It’s also pretty violent, and was seen as a darker interpretation of Bond, which to some was upsetting and to some others was more in keeping with the books by Ian Fleming. But in most ways it’s old timey James Bond shit with elaborate stunt sequences, gadgets that make computery sounds (what good did it do him to disguise the explosives as toothpaste and cigarettes, by the way?) and multiple gorgeous women who throw themselves at Bond for no reason.

It was filmed under the title LICENCE REVOKED, then they decided Americans wouldn’t understand that it wasn’t talking about his driver’s license. (Tell that to the scene in the previous week’s LETHAL WEAPON 2 where the bad guy says “Diplomatic immunity!” and Murtaugh yells “It’s just been revoked!”) The original title accurately describes this little side adventure that happens when Bond uses his status as a “temporarily unemployed” “problem eliminator” to get revenge on behalf of Felix Leiter’s leg.

You see, it opens with Felix (David Hedison, returning from LIVE AND LET DIE) and Bond (Dalton, whose BRENDA STARR had just opened in May) in a limo headed to Felix’s wedding when they get waved down (or up, actually) by two DEA agents in a Coast Guard helicopter who want Felix’s help real quick busting this Sanchez guy. Bond doesn’t want to be the one to tell Della (Priscilla Barnes, TALONS OF THE EAGLE) that Felix is gonna be late, so he goes on the raid “as an observer,” and is the one who catches Sanchez’s escape plane on a hook. Then the groom and his best man parachute right to the church, impressively hanging onto their top hats.

Unfortunately the DEA chief Ed Killifer (Everett McGill, UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY) aids in an underwater escape (sellout fee: $2 million), the gang murders Della, drops Felix into a shark tank and dumps him back off at home, alive but missing his left leg below the knee and part of an arm. Bond isn’t authorized to go after drug lords, even ones with shark tanks, but he refuses an assignment, makes a literary pun, and goes to off-the-books investigate with Felix’s buddy (Frank McRae, SHAFT IN AFRICA, HARD TIMES, WALKING TALL PART II, ROCKY II, 48 HRS., RED DAWN) who coincidentally runs a shark hunting charter boat and therefore has the now unfortunate nickname Sharky.

This one has two flavors of “Bond Girls” – Talisa Soto (who’d been in SPIKE OF BENSONHURST) plays Sanchez’s unhappy kept woman Lupe Lamora, who is introduced to us being whipped by a weird rubber sword(?) and to Bond when he finds her naked in bed, grabs her by the hair and puts a knife to her throat. She mostly lays around in luxurious bedrooms, and she’s like LETHAL WEAPON 2’s Rika in that she’s affiliated with the bad guy but immediately likes and helps the good guy. Carey Lowell (DANGEROUSLY CLOSE) plays Pam Bouvier, an ex-army pilot for Sanchez who’s actually an informant. Minutes after they meet at the Barrelhead Bar in Bimini there’s a big ROAD HOUSE style brawl (including pool stick used as a weapon) where Bond happens to beat up an uncredited Branscombe Richmond (the co-star of Renegade with Lorenzo Lamas).

You know Pam’s a good person to have around when her gun blasts a hole in the wall big enough to exit through and take off in a speed boat. She’s kinda more the style of LAST CRUSADE‘s Elsa – hot and capable – with the bonus of not working for any Nazis. She can be rugged but also wears dresses and gets alot of mileage from a small gun holstered to a garter.

Even for ’89 the treatment of women is ridiculous. I like these two, but they turn so stupid for Bond. Pam seems to rightfully scoff at him but suddenly starts making out with him during their boat escape (which gives him a boner that honks the boat horn). She quickly forgives him for rape-ily pinning her to a bed when he suspects her of treachery. Later, when she finds out he fucked Lupe (because she says so and cries “I love James so much!”), she gets sad and then is relieved to be his again when he jumps into a swimming pool for her. And it’s a totally wimpy swimming pool jump when compared to the one in LETHAL WEAPON 2.

Bond is always checking women out and smiling (like whenever Pam has to change clothes) but the weirdest one is when he first sees her leaving Felix’s office during the wedding reception, has no idea who she is but purposely steps into her personal bubble as she passes him.

Q (Desmond Llewelyn in number 11 out of 16 appearances as the character [the one from James Bond, not the one from Reddit]) cluelessly cockblocks Bond from Pam, but later tries to cover for him sleeping with Lupe, telling Pam that agents have to use “every means at their disposal to achieve their objectives.” (She’s right to say, “Bullshit!”)

Sanchez kinda has two main henchmen. Henchman A is Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe, THE OMEGA MAN, ROOSTER COGBURN, STEEL DAWN), a Mike Ditka lookin dude who runs the submarine place with the shark tank, which is actually a drug front. Bond sneaks in and finds bags of cocaine hidden in a maggot-filled drawer, which he subsequently stuffs a guard into.

Henchman B is Dario, played by a dreamy young Benicio Del Toro, whose only previous movie role was Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in BIG TOP PEE-WEE. Dressed kinda like EL MARIACHI, he chases Bond around and smolders. The one part that seems like it might be a Del Toro acting touch is that when he’s reunited with the boss after a while he hugs him.

(UPDATE: I’m told it was Davi’s idea. See the comments.)

Speaking of weird acting touches, what’s with this part where the cop incorrectly diagnoses the maiming of Felix and makes this joke about it:

“You can bet it was a chain saw. Colombians love to use them on informers. Hell, they sell more here than the state of Ore-gone.”

And then turns and smiles proudly:

This scene should end with seven guys pulling Bond off the prick. But Bond doesn’t react at all.

Like Jim Brown in SLAUGHTER (and probly James Bond in some James Bond movies, but I wouldn’t know), Bond goes undercover as a gambler, gets to know Sanchez and stays at his place, even using his real name. Q shows up at the hotel to illegally provide fancy devices (x-ray Polaroid with laser gun flash?). Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (right before L.A. TAKEDOWN) is another gambler who turns out to be Hong Kong narcotics, and for some reason has two ninjas (Stuart Quan [BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, ANGEL TOWN, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO] and Diane Hsu [SNAPDRAGON]) working for him. It was cool to see young, handsome C-HT playing a good guy, but right after we find out that’s the deal he’s biting down on a cyanide capsule.

This is a Bond movie so it needs even more colorful characters, which is about the only explanation for Wayne Newton (BEST OF THE BEST 2)’s small role as Professor Joe Butcher, who seems like a cross between himself, a televangelist and Jim Jones. He has a seduction bed in his temple, so he’s even worse than Bond. Sanchez can’t really compete with him for over-the-topness, despite having an iguana on his shoulder in one scene.

Sanchez’s power is the ability to pay people off – we hear at the beginning that he’s famous for million dollar bribes. So I like that Bond keeps showing total disrespect for bounty. Sharky seems maybe tempted to take Killifer’s suitcase full of money, but Bond uses it to kill the asshole. Killifer’s hanging over the shark pit, Bond throws the money at him and he tries to grab it, causing himself to fall. Death by greed (and shark).

By the way, that’s one interesting thing about Bond’s revenge: he doesn’t kill the actual perpetrator – the shark – but in fact rewards him with a whole other person to eat.

Bond also bashes a pilot with a cube of money, causing it to break open and pour out of the plane. The rest he steals just to frame Krest. Bond also fucks with Sanchez by stabbing giant bags of cocaine he’s smuggling in submersibles. There could be a whole spin-off movie about coke-fueled fish attacks.

I’m surprised the title isn’t aquatic themed. During the bar brawl a guy uses a giant decorative swordfish as a weapon. Bond kills a guy by throwing him in a tank with electric eels. He sneaks up on a submarine wearing a manta ray disguise. He waterskis behind a seaplane. He wedges a seashell shaped chair under a door knob when he fucks Lupe. He wakes up in Sanchez’s place being stared at by a new friend.

And then the rest of the movie is about him having to raise it as his son.

Actually that’s a statue. I’m not really sure what that part was about. But I like it.

Long time Bond composer John Barry’s license was revoked at that time (or was hegetting throat surgery? I can’t remember) so they got Michael Kamen (DIE HARD) to fill in. Other than composing the scores for FOR QUEEN & COUNTRY, ROAD HOUSE, RENEGADES, LETHAL WEAPON 2 and this, Kamen contributed very little to the summer of ’89. Lazy asshole. Kamen’s LETHAL WEAPON guitar noodler Eric Clapton joined original 007 theme guitarist Vic Flick to record a supposedly gritty ’89 take on the theme, but producers decided to go with Gladys instead. The Clapton song has never been released or leaked, so in lieu of that here’s Johnny Cash’s rejected THUNDERBALL theme:

It’s interesting that this movie had to compete with INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, which co-stars the original cinematic 007 and is part three of the series George Lucas convinced Steven Spielberg to do when he was sad he couldn’t do James Bond. Although I enjoyed LICENCE TO KILL it seems crude and cheesy compared to the master filmmaking and lush period detail of the Spielberg/Lucas version of a globe-trotting hero. It may also have taken some inspiration from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, specifically in the sequence where Bond climbs under a moving truck (while being fired at by a machine gun), and the gruesome special effect of Krest’s head inflating and exploding inside a compression chamber reminds me of the fates of some of Indy’s foes.


(A+ sound effect for that part, by the way.)

But part of the fun of LAST CRUSADE and LETHAL WEAPON 2 is the way they string together spectacular stunt sequences. That’s following in the Bond tradition, and in that area LICENCE is very respectable. There’s the underwater sequences, a boat crash, lots of hanging off of planes and climbing on and around trucks,

plenty of gigantic explosions

a flaming truck flying off a cliff, just missing a small plane

and my favorite stunt, if not the biggest, is a tanker truck doing a crazy side-wheelie that tips back over on top of a smaller vehicle!

Stunt coordinator Paul Weston’s Bond affiliation went back 22 years to stunts in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, and continued as recently as SKYFALL in 2012.

LICENCE TO KILL got decent reviews at the time, and made a respectable $156 million worldwide, the twelfth biggest moneymaker of ’89. But it kinda got overwhelmed by the other movies of the summer. Despite changing the title for Americans, it opened here at #4, below LETHAL WEAPON 2 (in its second week) and BATMAN and HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS (both in their fourth week), and adjusted for inflation it’s the lowest grossing Bond movie in the U.S.

This one really was the end of a Bond era. Although Dalton was contracted for a third film, and one was planned for a ’91 release (John Landis was considered to direct!), various corporate buyouts and lawsuits over the rights delayed it for years. Because of the gap, the producers wanted Dalton to sign a contract for several more films, but he only wanted to commit to one, which led to the casting of Pierce Brosnan for 1995’s GOLDENEYE.

LICENCE was also the last Bond movie for screenwriter Richard Maibaum, who had written all but three of them up until that point. And it was the last for director John Glen, who had been editing 007 since ’69 and directed all of the ’80s Bond movies – FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, OCTOPUSSY, A VIEW TO A KILL, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS and this.

Maibaum’s only subsequent movie was RANSOM (he got a story credit), but Dalton got to be the villain in THE ROCKETEER (1991) and Glen got to direct ACES: IRON EAGLE III (1992).

Lowell went on to a career largely in television (she was on Law & Order, and was the lead in the TV version of A League of Their Own). She reprised the character of Pam Bouvier for the video game 007 Legends in 2012. (Sanchez is in the game too, but not played by Davi.) Soto’s later action works include MORTAL KOMBAT, MORTAL KOMBAT ANNIHILATION, VAMPIRELLA and BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER. Zerbe was that asshole politician guy in the MATRIX sequels. Davi was soon in MANIAC COP 2 and 3, PREDATOR 2, SHOWGIRLS, etc. And of course Del Toro started winning Oscars in the mid-’90s and his action/crime credentials include THE USUAL SUSPECTS, THE WAY OF THE GUN, THE HUNTED, SIN CITY, SAVAGES, SICARIO and SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO. But Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa was the most prolific of all of them when it comes to action movies, not only appearing with Soto in the MORTAL KOMBATs, but also KICKBOXER 2, THE PERFECT WEAPON, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO, NEMESIS, RISING SUN, AMERICAN DRAGONS, BRIDGE OF DRAGONS, THE ART OF WAR, TEKKEN, BLACK COBRA, SKIN TRADE, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS 2, SHOWDOWN IN MANILA, and many others. So he is the greatest legacy of LICENCE TO KILL.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019 at 12:27 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

39 Responses to “Licence to Kill”

  1. Back in the days, this one was nicknamed “Rambond” and often criticized for being a good Hollywood-style revenge action movie, but a bad Bond movie. With the popularity of CASINO ROYALE, which removed pretty much everything people loved about the 007 movies, this one slowly gained a better reputation, as fas as I could see. Although my mother, who is a much bigger Bond fan than me, still doesn’t like it.

    It’s been years since I saw it the last time. I think I also liked it as an action movie, but other than the surprisingly harsh violence for a 007 movie, I don’t remember much about it.

  2. Since 87, Dalton has remained my favorite Bond. Love his two 007s everlastingly. It’s taken 30 years for people to finally get on board with him. He’s exactly how I picture Bond in the books. In person, he’s … not what I’d hoped, but whatever. I hope Kamen’s complete score gets released on CD someday.

  3. William D'Annucci

    July 18th, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    The whip that Sanchez uses is a leathered stingray tail. It’s a reference to the Ian Fleming 007 short story “The Hildebrand Rarity” where an rich abusive asshole named Krest (like the Zerbe character) likes to punish his wife with one of those. The literary Krest liked to call the tail “The Corrector.” And he doesn’t survive to the end of the story (spoiler).

  4. The next Bond should just turn that on it’s head where it’s an evil couple who play abusive to one another to gain sympathy but really just like some S&M in their lives.

  5. Side note, the more I learn about Landis the more I think he is an douche.

  6. This was my favorite Bond movie growing up because it was probably the most Joel Silver-y, but watching it a few years ago i thought it kinda exemplified why alot of people hate/won’t watch the older Bond movies – despite the revenge plot and harder action, it still seemed sluggishly paced, bloated, and overlong (even though at 2 hr 13 it’s average for a blockbusters today). Like why is Wayne Newton’s character tacked on and introduced so late, and why does Bond’s Yojimbo/Last Man Standing-style Machivellian plot only start what feels like a couple of hours in? The movie’s adherence to the Bond Formula (Now we need to add another sidekick of his to get killed! And now we need to introduce the villain’s hideout so it can get blown up!) was really wearing thin at this point, even though I’m glad neither of the Bond Girls turned out to be a villain this time.

    Anyways, the Road Warrior-esque finale is still awesome, Benicio is fun (and looks weirdly similar to Brad Pitt) and I’m kind of a sucker for the Diane Warren-penned end credits song that’s almost as big a guilty pleasure as her Bruckheimer output. I’ve always liked Dalton but I think he’s actually more interesting in The Living Daylights even though he’s given more “actorly” stuff to do here.

    Btw, don’t ever play 007 Legends. Sure it’s a pleasant surprise to see Licence to Kill in a videogame (and Moonraker and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service!) but it’s borderline unplayable. The loading times are excruciating, especially when you die every 10 seconds, and the game was literally released unfinished. The final segment was supposed to be Skyfall but they couldn’t get it done on time so they just made it downloadable content – which they took offline apparently a few months after the game came out! So yeah, if you didn’t buy the game close to release you got saddled with a shitty game with literally no ending that tells you to download something that you can’t. Ugh.

  7. No mention that there’s a scene involving Robert Davi, Grand Bush and a helicopter? I’d expect some, “Just like Vietnam!” joke.

  8. I believe you mean Just like fucking Saigon. I was in junior high dickhead.

  9. Well, if you wanna get technical the whole line is “Just like fucking Saigon, eh Slick?”.

    But anyways, the Dalton films were my first Bond, and therefore he is still favorite of the Bonds. But oh man, did I have a crush on Carey Lowell back then! She’s prolly the reason that to this day I have a thing for short-haired women.

  10. She was great on LAW & ORDER, too. Was (I think) married to Richard Gere.

    More Clapton/Kamen talk but I’d love to see that video and collaboration with the original 007 guitarist surface somewhere. They did the score for the original EDGE OF DARKNESS miniseries, and in 1990 and ’91 a series of concerts featuring a concerto for electric guitar Kamen composed. They were going to do it as a studio album after, but it was shelved after the death of Eric’s son (several years later, Kamen would go on to record a version with Tomoyasu Hotei).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yshvZ6ER1fk

  11. Carey Lowell was in BOND GIRLS ARE FOREVER as well.

  12. Was listening to the score at work and it’s amazing that it’s obviously a Kamen score and ALSO obviously a Bond score. It’s a shame we don’t get shit like that very much anymore. Does Fast/Furious have any recognizable motifs? I’ve only seen the first one.

  13. “By the way, that’s one interesting thing about Bond’s revenge: he doesn’t kill the actual perpetrator – the shark – but in fact rewards him with a whole other person to eat.”

    Great line.

  14. I’ve just spent the week trying to explain to all the right wing Bond fans that their favourite agent is retired in the upcoming movie and that, probably as a hint that the producers hear the ongoing debate out there, the agent that has taken over the number 007 is a black woman (they have not taken it well), so I’m kind of fed up with Bond.

    This patchy and outdated action movie almost killed the Bond franchise. And I blame John Glen. He only had one movie in him, and they let him direct four more. Dalton’s the best thing about it. But, come on, a bar fight?!
    And the scene where the truck drives on it’s back wheels is so stupid it hurts.

  15. Surprised you didn’t mention how the henchmen clearly raped Felix’s wife. That makes it a very Death Wish revenge, and also too unpleasant to be fun.

    I thought this was the worst Bond for a while but obviously it’s better than Die Another Day, Diamonds are Forever and Never Say Never Again. I love Dalton so much I just have to give it good Will because it’s the only other option. You can’t have Living Daylights every night. I agree, pegsman, a bar fight is embarrassingly inappropriate for a Bond movie.

    I think they never quite pulled off the notion that Bord’s vendetta actually fucked up lots of legitimate operations against Sanchez. It still ends up that Bond does whatever he wants and faces no consequences. And it always bothers me that he and Felix are so happy at the end. Didn’t your newlywed bride just die, dude?

  16. By the way, at the age of 21 del Toro is the youngest bad guy ever in this franchise.

  17. The hugging on the part of Davi/DelToro was Sanchez’s idea Davi wanted some ambiguity to Sanchez – you should read JOHN MUIR’S review of License to Kill also several other reviews that look at LTK in the correct light – as it is a film ahead of its time – the father to the Craig -Bonds – I think in writing this review – you ate something that disagreed with you – have another go at it in a few years and please do so with having something of gourmet value instead of a microwaveable meal – FINE WINE SUCH AS LTK DESERVES MUCH BETTER

  18. This is the only Bond movie I really love, because it’s not really a Bond movie. This could be a SNAKE EATER movie and not much would change except the budget. It’s leaner and meaner and more down to earth than most of (if not all) the, frankly, foppish and smug other installments.

    I was about to say Dalton is my favorite Bond: colder, more enigmatic, but human, not a repulsive murderbot with a hard-on like Craig plays him. But then I realized that impression is 100% just from this movie, because THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (my first Bond) might have the distinction of being the boringest and dullest Bond movie ever, and that’s a spot with considerable competition. No momentum whatsoever. I’m pretty sure there’s an hour in the middle of the movie where they just ride horses in the desert. Interminable.

  19. Something Clever

    July 19th, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Vern, please review Christopher Columbus: The Discovery and you will find Dalton backed out when he found out John Glen was hired as the replacement director’s replacement.

  20. In 1992 in my first college history course the professor asked the class to name their heroes. It was a popular course and a big class. After he had the board almost filled up with names he said he was going to add one of his own – James Bond. He said this was because Bond was a perfect example of something he wanted to discuss in a little bit. He said for his entire career he’d been doing this same class lesson and someone ALWAYS said James Bond, until recently, so he had to start adding him on himself. I’m not saying this movie was the death knell of Bond. I’m just saying it happened around this time.

  21. I like how we are just not addressing the fact that Robert Davi just swung by and gave Vern shit. Brings me back to the days when the likes of Albert Pyun or Olivier Gruner could be summoned out of the ether at any moment.

    Whatever you do, though, don’t read the twitter replies on that
    his website.

  22. I don’t think we realized since he spoke of himself in third person. But if it really is him I just want to say that it’s not his or Dalton’s fault that I’m a bit lukewarm on this. As I said, I blame Glen and Broccoli for not having the balls to drop all the gadget bullshit and just with the story.

  23. Holy shit a SPIKE OF BENSONHURST reference

  24. I… thought this was a positive review, but if I really just got dissed by Sanchez I take it as a great honor!

    And thanks for the info about the hug, a detail I really appreciated.

  25. I feel bad now that I didn’t go into Davi’s credits in the last paragraph. I assumed he was the big needs-no-introduction name to action fans, iconic from DIE HARD, PREDATOR 2 and the MANIAC COPs, but didn’t mean to leave him out.

  26. A fine review, Vern. I’m glad to see you are screening other Bond films.

    I do not hold LTK in as high regard as some, but Timothy Dalton is very good, Davi is interesting. and casting Benicio Del Toro was a home run. “Jimmy” from the Seinfeld series, not so much…

    Looking very much forward to Bond 25 in 2020. It will be bittersweet though, in that it most probably is Daniel Craig’s last one. He’s been wonderful as James Bond.

    Thanks, bud.

  27. A fine review, Vern. I’m glad to see you are screening other Bond films.

    I do not hold LTK in as high regard as some, but Timothy Dalton is very good, Davi is interesting. and casting Benicio Del Toro was a home run. “Jimmy” from the Seinfeld series, not so much…

    Looking very much forward to Bond 25 in 2020. It will be bittersweet though, in that it most probably is Daniel Craig’s last one. He’s been wonderful as James Bond.

    Thanks, bud.

  28. I can’t be the only one that hope that this 25th movie will be the last one?

  29. I watched this one when I was a kid, so I have little memory of it. But I more recently watched The Living Daylights, and I thought Dalton was a great Bond. I also like the fact that even these more hard edged Bond movies have ridiculous shit like Bond sledding down a hill in a cello case.

    Also, it’s crazy that Robert Davi apparently showed up to drop a little behind the scenes tidbit and complain about Vern’s review. It’s a really momentous day for this sight.

  30. Always loved this one. It’s the gritty mean Bond before there was a gritty mean Bond.

    If that is indeed Mr. Davi there, I’m actually not too surprised- there’s a podcast called James Bonding (topic hopefully self-evident) that’s been running for a few years now and one of the hosts has a story about a time he wrote a review of this one that had kind of a mean joke at Davi’s expense on just his little blog type website and Davi wound up getting in touch with him and they eventually got dinner together and apparently had a real nice time. So I wouldn’t be shocked to find that had happened a second time here.

  31. I saw this on TV the summer when I was 12 and loved it. It’s a perfect film for a slightly sheltered 12 year old just coming out into the light; it feels “gritty” and “edgy” (i.e. it’s more violent and a bit more dour than the previous Bond films) but doesn’t really have much of that troublesome substance to get in the way of the good times. In later years I started to appreciate the earlier Bond films more, including some of the more outlandish Moore ones, and the shine on this faded for me a bit. I agree with Majestyk that it’s better than THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, which I think starts really well (despite a slightly dry feel, similar to Glen’s FOR YOUR EYES ONLY) but does become very dull in the second half.

    Turns out the version I saw on TV in 1999 was actually more uncut than the versions which had been commercially available in the UK up to that point; in 1989 and on VHS releases this actually had to be substantially cut to avoid our harshest rating (18+) after 25 years of (occasionally slight censored) PG films. Cubby Broccoli was actually disappointed and surprised that it didn’t get a PG!

    Hotest of hot Bond takes; I have a soft spot for DIE ANOTHER DAY. It gets forgotten because it was so close to CASINO ROYALE but at the time the first half hour or so actually felt fresh and contemporary in a way a Bond film hadn’t in some time. It then gets very silly, but I think it at least goes for broke and is more fun than Brosnan’s slightly half-hearted other films. I can defend all of it, some of the dialogue is real bottom of the barrel stuff, but rollercoasters go down as well as up, and I think it’s a long way from the weakest entry. MOONRAKER which went through a similar popular-to-punching-bag cycle is now somewhat fondly regarded; will the same thing happen to DIE ANOTHER DAY? Probably not, I suspect the trashy 00s vibe will never come in vogue. But it’s something I don’t mind sometimes.

  32. One thing that always took me out of the film was the action that Bond uses to kill the breaks on the semi at the end (cutting the air hose) would actually LOCK the brakes in real life.

    Also, just read about David Hedison’s death on another website. Vern really missed a credit listing opportunity there as he was the star of “The Fly”.

  33. Pac- I actually totally agree about DIE ANOTHER DAY. It’s my least favorite Bond specifically because the beginning 40 minutes or so (basically until the exact moment Halle Barry turns up) is really good and interesting! I remember seeing it in theaters and thinking “h wow, this is different, I can’t wait to see where this goes!” Bond’s captured, tortured, a broken man, he’s failed more than we’ve ever seen- interesting stuff! Then it just whips around and suddenly space lasers are shooting at invisible cars and ice castles while diamond-faced henchmen are deployed by a cackling madman in power armor who used LED lights to change from a Korean dude to a member of the landed British gentry and it’s just…too much. Normally I’m all in for that kind of madness, but you didn’t set me up for it, movie! You gotta prepare me a LITTLE for that kinda shit!

  34. Anthony Bradley

    July 22nd, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Long may C-H T reign.

  35. The sequence in DIE ANOTHER DAY, from the escape to he checks in at the hotel dripping wet in his pyjamas, might just be the coolest bit of acting Brosnan has ever done.

  36. I only saw DIE ANOTHER DAY once when it came out on DVD, but I really think that the themesong is unfairly hated.

  37. Dalton’s (Premature?) Swan Song: Remembering “Licence to Kill” on its 30th Anniversary

    The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of Licence to Kill, the 16th (official) cinematic James Bond adventure and second (and final) entry to feature Timothy Dalton as Agent 007.

  38. Dalton was MY Bond and this was a big part of why. I haven’t watched this in about 20 years but up until Brosnan’s first 2 it was the one I watched the most. The older ones were a mixed bag for me as a very little kid. I started to really appreciate them when I reached middle school age and TBS started to annually marathon them.

    I recently saw Robert Davi interviewed and singing on PBS. Seemed like a very pleasant guy and it was a good contrast to my movie image of him being that I love the MANIAC COP sequels and THE GOONIES. He is not as intimidating as I expected. Then I come in here and see that he posted a verbal pimp slap in this thread and I begin to actually question that perception.

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