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Old 12-07-2022, 04:59 PM   #1
zen007 zen007 is offline
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Oct 2019
Default Licence to Kill (1989)

Timothy Dalton's last Bond film is said to have faced production challenges including a writers' strike and being unable to shoot the film in the UK. The film remains the lowest-grossing Bond adventure, however, over the years, it has gained recognization esp. as a relatively different type of Bond film, and attracted a fan following, which every Bond film should.


Fleming material: This film mixes various parts of Fleming's books. The torture of Leiter is from the book "Live and Let Die". Bond working for Sanchez is from the book "The Man with the Golden Gun". Milton Krest is from the short story "The Hildebrand Rarity".

Action/Stunts: LTK sports a few memorable stunts - a) Bond fishing for Sanchez's plane, b) Bond's capture of the seaplane, and c) the truck chase.

Bond-Sanchez: Bond and Sanchez drive the film.


Relative to top Bond films, LTK has too many negatives that probably outweigh the positives esp. when looked at it as a Bond film:

Bond's motivation: This is the first film where Bond goes rogue. However, his motivation for going rogue is questionable (or a mere excuse to get him after Sanchez). Over the years, we have seen many of Bond's key associates get killed but Bond usually does not overreact. In this film, he even jeopardizes the Istanbul mission, which many times I wonder how the film would have been if he had gone to Istanbul. To avenge Leiter-Della, he gets many people killed including Sharky and the good folks of HK narcotics.

Bond-Leiter relationship: Difficult to fathom that they were this close esp. for a film released at that point in time. Would it have served the film better if a different character (even introduced for the purpose) was to be avenged?

Bond-Bond girls relationship: Like all (or most) Bond films, the Bond girls are good to look at, however, the film suffers from a lack of meaningful relationships. Bond meets Pam at the seedy bar, and they are immediately involved. When they land in the fictitious country, Bond is happy to pay her for her service (whatever they were) and let her go (and he attempts to do this many times in the film for different reasons). In the Living Daylights, we saw a relationship develop b/w Bond and Kara ... Pam also suffered from the DAF syndrome where much like Case in DAF, Pam starts off as a competent smart professional only to be reduced to a jealous girlfriend as the film progresses.

Q and his gadgets: It is good to see Q in the field but his role is more of a comic relief which contrasts with the original tone of the film. Most of his gadgets are more like toys.

Tone: Talking about the tone, it varies too much. For a film supposed to be relatively dark, it has Leiter fooling around in the hospital despite the death of his wife. We discussed Pam and Q too.

Dalton's performance (Action hero v Bond conundrum): Dalton is good, however, he does go overboard with the hard edge. The franchise got his performance spot on in the previous film, TLD, which is reminiscent of Bond in Fleming's books ... While it is a good performance considering what the film was aiming for (an intense action hero), a downgrade over his previous "Bond" performance.

Influence of other films: Too much influence of other films including the popular 80s action films/shows, Yojimbo/A Fistful of Dollars, etc. Even the cast and music director are taken from Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Full of weak segments: Positives are scattered among many weak segments. The film takes time to kick off, devoting or wasting time in trying to convince viewers of the Bond-Leiter relationship, Bond taking on M, the action at Krest's marine research center, and the unnecessary segment at the seedy bar where Bond meets Pam ... Some of the segments lack that Bond production touch.

And I can probably go on and on.

How do you rate LTK? ... Overall, I think this is an interesting Bond film that focuses on being different and showcasing a relatively intense Bond. It can be enjoyed for its positives once you get used to its negatives ... It probably works more as an action film than a Bond film, therefore, would not rate it among the top-tier Bond films. It is more inconsistent than what I would prefer.

Last edited by zen007; 12-07-2022 at 06:49 PM.
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