Licence to Kill (1989)
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
Licence to Kill is the 16th James Bond movie, which stars Timothy Dalton as Bond, Robert Davi, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto and Anthony Zerbe. Although, Bond isn't 007 in this movie; his licence and status has been revoked.
It looks like someone spent too much time with the Afganistan Resistance fighters during the last movie and became a tad radical himself. We haven't seen James Bond become destructive since Diamonds Are Forever, but this time he goes so much further. He isn't a government assassin, he's a murderer, a bomber, a thief, a saboteur, and a con-artist. This isn't just a job, it's revenge.
James has meddled in other's affairs before, but his blind rage really stepped things up this time. It didn't matter if he had to wipe out a group of enemies or allies to get at his target, he was just that focused. Surprisingly, this worked perfectly for Dalton's darker Bond. Sure, there were times when Licence to Kill felt more like a generic action movie, but thanks to the characters and James' actions, it couldn't be anything else but a James Bond movie.
Much of this is thanks to the focus on the characters again. Each of the pivotal characters had plenty of time to feel like a real living person. Of course, much of this is thanks to the brilliant acting in this film. All the villains felt like they could easily exist in our world, yet still had that larger-than-life image that Bond villains are famous for.
Although, my favourite addition to the entire movie had to be the man I wanted to see in the field for so long, "Uncle" Q! Yes, I'm aware he already got his feet wet in the previous movie, but he really got a taste for the spy life in Licence to Kill. While I would hate to see one of my favourite characters get hurt, his inclusion absolutely made this movie even more memorable!
The stunts, especially the ones surrounding vehicles, were almost to the point of the Moore era insanity, which helped keep the movie from slipping into a pool of very dark water. I'm sure that without the crazy half-thought plans, Licence to Kill would have become a bit too dark for many viewers. I've seen so many movies that take the dark story too far, so I was very glad that the writers picked the perfect times to add a strong laugh or a hilarious idea to cheer things up.
So, yeah, Licence to Kill is just one of those great movies you need to watch. Sadly, this film came out at the worst possible time and tanked in theatres. I don't understand why. Sure, it had some strong competition, but James Bond was an established name, and with the solid story, this should have been successful. I guess even Bond can't win them all, even when he saves the day.
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