Licence to Kill (1989)

Movie Market - Single-sided International Poster of Licence to ...

The seventeenth James Bond film also turned out to be the second and final appearance for Timothy Dalton as Bond.  This is a fact that makes me sad as I have found him to be an exceptional James Bond.

Perhaps you have to look at how the world has changed to understand the changes in the James Bond franchise, but I have found these past two Dalton movies to have fixed many of the issues that the earlier films had suffered from.

We get a strong woman character, Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), who helps Bond in a big way.  Yet, we still see the streak of misogyny in the former spy.  However, there is a deeper meaning behind how Bond acts in this film.

Bond heads into revenge mode when his friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison) and his bride (Priscilla Barnes) are attacked on their wedding day, with the bride being killed.  This triggered a deep memory in Bond.  The character had been married once and had his own bride murdered on his wedding day.  This brought all of that back.  It was not just his friendship with Felix that sent Bond after the drug dealers here, but the memory of Blofeld killing Teresa way back in On Her Majesty Secret Service.

So every time I heard Bond trying to get Pam to leave, I saw it as Bond desperately trying to protect someone whom he cares about, not because she was a woman.

This subtle character development was extremely welcome in a series that did not go into too much depth in that area.  That motivation was a positive step.

The action was top notch and our villains were strong.  Robert Davi as drug dealer Sanchez was a huge win as was Benicio del Toro as Dario.

This film continued the trend of more serious, darker films in the James Bond franchise.  I would have been interested to see where the franchise would have gone keeping Timothy Dalton in the role.  However, he would be replaced for the next film, GoldenEye, by Pierce Brosnan.

vintage

Movie Market - Single-sided International Poster of Licence to ...

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