Summary: James Bond takes on his most daring adventure when he turns renegade and goes head to head with one of the international drug cartel's most brutal and powerful leaders. This time, he's fighting not for contry, not for justice...but for revenge.
Review: For years I thought that Licence to Kill was one of the worst of the series. However, after years of working on this site and further evaluating the Bond movies, I am confident saying that it is actually pretty darned good! To this day I still do not like Lupe or idea of Felix being maimed (it worked for me in the Live and Let Die novel but not on screen), but the rest of the film has grown on me.
It all starts with the opening sequence where Bond and Felix track Sanchez down and capture him mid-air, all while in their tuxes for Leiterís wedding. In the end they get the bad guy and parachute to the church: it doesnít get much more Bondian than that. The rest of the action sequences were classic 007 as well; the underwater/jet skiing battle and the tanker chase are instant classics. While some of these sequences were a bit more violent and grittier than in previous films, it worked because of Timothy Daltonís more realistic portrayal of Bond.
Another main reason that this is a far better movie than it is often given credit for is the huge role of Desmond Llewelyn as Q. For years he had only had a few minutes of screen time per film; now he is a central character who gets down and dirty in the field. Itís a pity that it took so many movies before the producers realized that this was exactly what the audience wanted and, by the time GoldenEye was released six years later, Desmond was too fragile to portray such a large role again.
On the con side of the film, I feel that the Bond Girls are amongst the worst of the series. The Pam Bouvier character tries to be a strong woman, she still is completely at Bondís mercy and doesnít add much to the film or the series. As for Lupe: she may be my least favorite ever! Talisa Sotoís acting was atrocious and when she comes to Bondís hotel and tells Pam and Q that she loves Bond so much it seems completely out of left field and unrealistic. Itís tough to give a movie 007 stars when the leading ladies are so sub-par.
Despite some other issues with the film (including the whole unnecessary Stinger missile subplot), it still shines through as a beacon of realism and a throwback to Ian Flemingís Bond in what had become a comical series during the Roger Moore era. So if you havenít watched it in a while, dust off that DVD because Licence to Kill is probably better than you remember.
Universal Exports Rating: 005
First film not to take a Fleming title
First time 007 has his "license to kill" revoked by M
First time Bond wears blue jeans
First Bond film rated PG-13
First returning Felix Leiter (David Heidson)
First and only Bond movie to have a Surgeon General's warning. Near the beginning of the closing credits, there is a box featuring the same warning that is on a pack of cigarettes.
When Bond is on the gasoline tanker and is being shot at by machine guns, the bullets that ricochet off the tanker make the Bond theme. |
The character of Krest was originally in the Ian Fleming short story, The Hildebrand Rarity.
Felix Leiter's shark attack was in the book Live And Let Die.
While at the Hemmingway house Bond is asked to relinquish his gun, to which he replies, "I guess it's a Farewell To Arms." This is a reference to a novel of the same name about Hemmingway's adventures in Italy during WWI.