Feb 27 2013

Review: Licence To Kill

Welcome to my review of Licence To Kill, the sixteenth part of my challenge to review all of the James Bond films. I’m watching each film in turn and trying to figure out which one is my favourite. For more information, see my introduction here. You can read my review of the previous film, The Living Daylights, here. Spoilers follow.

Licence To Kill
(dir. John Glen, 1989)

Licence To Kill trailerAs disappointed as I am that Timothy Dalton only made two Bond films, that’s nothing compared to how disappointed my girlfriend is.

She’s been quietly supportive of my challenge to review all the Bond films, partly because she prefers 007 to the plethora of spandex-clad heroes that I normally follow in film, but mostly because it gets me writing, and anything that gets me writing is A Good Thing. While she hasn’t watched every film with me, she’s made sure to watch at least one complete film from each of the Bond actors (off the top of my head, she’s sat through the entirety of From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me and Licence To Kill, so she’s had a very good selection), and when she first saw Dalton her comment was, “He’s the best looking guy so far”.

Let’s look at that for a moment before I get into my review proper. She didn’t much like Roger Moore (“He’s not a spy; he’s a bit seedy”), and despite recognising the merits of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service she really didn’t rate George Lazenby too highly. She was—possibly unusually—nonchalant towards Sean Connery, and I know from recent cinema trips that Daniel Craig is too thuggish for her tastes. I think she likes Pierce Brosnan, but Dalton definitely caught her eye.

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Feb 23 2013

Review: The Living Daylights

Welcome to my review of The Living Daylights, the fifteenth part of my challenge to review all of the James Bond films. I’m watching each film in turn and trying to figure out which one is my favourite. For more information, see my introduction here. You can read my review of the previous film, A View To A Kill, here. Spoilers follow.

The Living Daylights
(dir. John Glen, 1987)

The Living Daylights trailerSo, Timothy Dalton, then. He’s not Roger Moore, that’s for sure. Or George Lazenby, or even Sean Connery. He’s a very serious man.

This isn’t a bad thing. After the reign of Moore as James Bond—especially For Your Eyes Only and A View To A Kill—seeing Dalton play Bond as a straight assassin is very refreshing. Quips aside, it’s easy to believe that Dalton’s 007 would happily murderise any bad guys who got in his way: he is an angry, vengeful Bond.

The Living Daylights opens with a training exercise on the Rock of Gibraltar, which is particularly exciting for me as I used to live there and spotted my old home in the footage. Three Double-0 agents (002, 004 and 007) are engaged on a training exercise that goes horribly wrong when 002 and 004 are assassinated. From there, we go to Bratislava, where Bond is charged with providing covering sniper fire for a defecting Russian officer, General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé). Despite his darker and edgier makeover, Bond refuses to kill a cellist would-be assassin (Kara Milovy, played by Maryam d’Abo), identifying her as an untrained stooge.

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Jan 2 2013

Which Bond is best? A challenge for 2013

I’ve been given an interesting challenge to kick off 2013: pick my favourite James Bond film.

That’s quite a feat, I think. The series has been created over 50 years, with 6 lead actors and 23 films (so far), so picking any one film as a clear favourite is a tough call. Like most people, I’ve seen a fair few Bond films already, so I’m coming into this challenge with a number of preconceptions that, frankly, I need to shake.

Firstly, even though the last few Roger Moore films and those of Timothy Dalton were released in my lifetime, I didn’t see Bond at the cinema until Pierce Brosnan made his debut in Goldeneye. For a long time Brosnan equalled Bond to me, even after watching films starring the other actors. My first task, then, is to remember that there are 6 James Bonds, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Secondly, my father hates Roger Moore.

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