License To Kill Review

#16

1989

Timothy Dalton

Ok, first of all, look how shitty that poster is. Bond sticks out so awkwardly from the background, and his head looks like it was pasted on to his body from a different picture. Then there’s the big 007 just stretched across the background, no thought whatsoever given to composition. I mean, the poster for the last one was cool, but this one just looks like they let someone’s kid play with photoshop. You ever see the covers of the 2004 Star Wars dvd releases? Whatever. I know it sounds like a small think to fixate on, but I think it’s telling of how little anyone gave a shit about the franchise at this point. This time, things get personal again. Early on Bond is investigating a columbian drug cartel with his good ol’ buddy Felix Leiter, who is actually played by the same actor who played him Live and Let Die. He’s the first actor to play the character twice, despite him appearing in like 7 out of 15 of these movies. Anyway, this is going to be the last time we see him for a while. About twenty minutes in, Leiter is captured by the bad guy and fed to sharks. He survives, but he loses a leg and and most of an arm and is in the hospital in critical condition. They also kill his wife. It’s a pretty fucked up thing to happen to such a long running character. But the plot really gets going when M tells Bond not to go after the guys who did it. What does Bond do? Just like every Mission Impossible movie, he goes rogue. M revoked his license to kill, ironically making License To Kill the only movie that he spends to majority of without a license to kill. Did I say license to kill enough times? License to kill. But yeah, the scene where he quits is pretty good. We’re now on the second M now, by the way. The original one died early into the filming of For Your Eyes Only, before he had filmed any of his scenes. Out of respect, they just gave his lines to other characters, and this new guy’s been doing it ever since Octopussy. He’s alright, I mention it because this is the first time we’ve really scene him do anything. He does a pretty good job firing Bond. He’s definitely not as memorable as the original M, but what are you gonna do. We’re also on our second Moneypenny, the original having left when Roger Moore did. I guess they wanted someone younger for Dalton to flirt with, but she’s super forgettable. Yeah, can you tell I don’t have a lot to say about this one? So most of the plot is just Bond chasing down these drug cartel dudes. But this time he’s out for revenge for his buddy, so he’s like, super pissed the whole time. Dalton does a good job of showing the character in a more emotional state, he doesn’t just do the same cold detachment he showed in the previous movie, and he’s legitimately pretty scary when he’s mad. The drug cartel guys are pretty fun, too. They’re like straight out of a mob movie or something, and the main henchman dude is a young Benicio del Toro.  He’s hamming it up real good, and it’s pretty great. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a lot of screentime, but he does end up going into a giant cocaine shredder, which is pretty awesome. At the end of the day, I think these movies tried to set themselves apart by going much darker and grittier, and it didn’t work out so well. This would not only be the last one for Dalton, but it would be the last one in general for a while, and when they did come back it was clear they had reworked a lot of things. Looking back it’s hard to say whether these movies are actually that bad, or if they were unjustly hated for trying something new. Honestly, I think it’s probably the first one, but I still feel like there’s a lot of potential there. I wouldn’t call either of these good movies, but they’re both pretty interesting, and Timothy Dalton is far from the worst Bond. I kind of wish we could have seen him in some better movies, but the past is the past. On to Brosnan.

Overall Rating: I wanna see the spinoff where the CIA gives Felix Leiter robot limbs and he becomes a cyborg crimefighter/10

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