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Earring72's avatar


High octane , rough and tough James Bond movie. Great cast in one of the best of the series. Still holds up!
4 years 11 months ago
CinemaDump's avatar



James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is with his friend and frequent collaborator Felix Leiter (David Hedison) on route to Felix's wedding to Della Churchill (Priscilla Barnes). They are intercepted by the DEA to stop drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) from escaping the country in what becomes a grand airborne chase. The mission is a success in large part because of James and ends in a glorious parachute entrance just in time to make it for Felix's wedding. Although it looks like the day is won, Franz Sanchez is a resourceful man and can make his problems go away pretty easily.


The traditional Bond opening is usually a great example of action-filled fun and the opening in Licence to Kill is no different. The main villain of the movie is introduced here and the airplane stunts are insane. The opening titles are a bit of a letdown though in terms of the title song as well as the design of the credits. I can see that it is meant to be a bit of a shout out to the Bonds of old but it feels stale and unoriginal if you ask me. Gladys Knight's song begins very promisingly but becomes pretty dull as it goes on. While it's not a terrible song, it's just not catchy like the best of them. I can remember pretty much every opening titles song for every James Bond movie, but I always struggle when it comes to Licence to Kill.

Like The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill is a darker affair compared to past Bond movies, particularly the Moore era. The significant change here though is actually James Bond himself. He's even more angry than he was in The Living Daylights and he does have good reason to be. Revenge is his primary motivator here. spoiler

Licence to Kill definitely explores a darker angle of James Bond and I suppose I can understand people's dislike of that. It's a jarring effect when you're used to how James used to do things. Now he's brutal, violent and merciless. He raises some moral questions here and there in terms of his actions and personally I like it. spoiler With some brutally violent scenes from Sanchez and Bond himself, it's a gruesome affair on more than one occasion.

The action in Licence to Kill is all very well executed here. There are some typical James Bond touches in terms of ridiculous stunts and gadget use which are more than welcome. Wonderful chase scenes whether they're underwater or on windy roads in semi-trailer trucks are brilliantly done and are a blast to watch. There are enough stunts to satisfy any action fan and there are some touches of humour that lighten the mood when it's needed. Q is probably the biggest example of this in what is his best crazy old uncle appearance.

In terms of the acting, I was pleased with pretty much everyone. Timothy Dalton repeats his great performance from The Living Daylights while turning up the angry knob some more. He's still got that Bond twinkle in his eye from time to time and I particularly liked his scene when he was meeting with M. Robert Davi makes for a great South American drug lord and he exudes this quiet but murderous confidence. He's not the kind of guy you want to cross, that's for sure. His two henchman played by Anthony Zerbe and Benicio Del Toro are also pretty interesting, especially Del Toro. Wayne Newton's cameo appearance is kind of strange but ends up OK too.

As far as Bond girls go, I'd say that Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto are moderately memorable. Soto's Lupe Lamora is more of a damsel in distress that helps James on occasion. Pam Bouvier is a lot more interesting and self-sufficient. She's a bit of a nagger but she's all the same pretty tough and she can take care of herself for real. I'm also a fan of how James' relationships with both of these women are handled.

Licence to Kill is a significant shift in how things are done in a James Bond film. James has never acted as he does in this entry. There was already a pretty big change in The Living Daylights but Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum take things a step further. I think people were pretty shocked back in 1989 when Licence to Kill first came out but it looks like opinions have sort of softened a bit. I suppose people weren't ready yet for a Bond like this one and it shows in its box office take. 1989 was a tough year with a lot of other blockbusters all out at the same though. In the end, Licence to Kill to me is a really different and interesting chapter in the James Bond series. It really takes a lot for me to dislike a James Bond movie and Licence to Kill doesn't give me enough reasons.


5 years 8 months ago
Hippiemans's avatar


One of the best in the series.
6 years 9 months ago
DisneyStitch's avatar


If nothing else, I appreciated this entry in the Bond series for the sole reason that 007 goes rogue, a concept that always intrigues me in spy movies and the like. The action sequences are pretty good and Carey Lowell plays an interesting hard-hitting type of Bond girl.
4 years 4 months ago
Cadeicus's avatar


Went a bit Mad Maxish at the end.
4 years 9 months ago
Siskoid's avatar


Licence to Kill completes Timothy Dalton's all-too-brief tour of duty as 007. Though analysts say audiences never accepted his "angry" Bond (in other words, he should play better today), I don't think that's what actually crashed the franchise for 6 years. Rather, I think his era of Bond wasn't different ENOUGH, even if Dalton's performance was a departure from Moore's. The Living Daylights still had some of the jokey humor, and having venerable Bond director John Glen still at the helm gives the film a dated feel. Camera angles are very conservative, sets are flatly lit, etc. I don't think it's his fault necessarily - many films from 1989 look like that - but it shows no willingness to take risks at the movie-making level. If they were really taking risks, Felix Leiter wouldn't have survived getting eaten by a shark (there's a Fonzie joke to be made here, I think). Personally, I quite like Licence to Kill. The stunt work is high-end as usual. The Colombian drug lord villain, definitely a product of its time, is well played, with some humor to be had from Wayne Newton's modern-day Aztec priest. I can't stand Anthony Zerbe in anything, so he's the one I'd cut out of the film. Carey Lowell is an excellent Bond girl, a smart and resourceful agent in her own right, always better than the bimbos in distress Bond is so often stuck with. And if you believe in multiple agents who take on the 007 identity, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why a new man is in the tux by GoldenEye.
4 years 11 months ago
RoastMutton10's avatar


The best Bond film, LTK and Dalton are highly underrated
8 years 5 months ago
danisanna's avatar


Timothy Dalton plays a different kind of Bond. A bit more emotionally expressive and less robotic. Different, but I liked it. The CIA lady kicked ass. I love a strong leading lady in contrast to the usual I-need-saving Bond girl.
6 years 8 months ago
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