Tuesday, July 13, 2010

DVD of the Day: License To Kill (1989)


License To Kill


This private vendetta of yours could easily compromise Her Majesty’s government. You have an assignment, and I expect you to carry it out objectively and professionally!


The Stats:


The Director:  John Glen

The Cast:  Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Benicio Del Toro

Release Date: 1989

Run Time:  133 Minutes

(Review originally published at SuperfriendsUniverse.com)

The Plot


When CIA operative Felix Leiter is left for dead by vicious drug kingpin, Sanchez, James Bond makes it his personal vendetta to take him down… going so far as becoming a rogue agent.


The Lowdown


All right, I know what you’re thinking.  ”Timothy Dalton… really?”  Yes really.  Yes, I will admit he is definitely the weakest of the 6 men to play the ultimate male (no, not Thunderlips), James Bond.  However, License To Kill was one of the grittier entries into this series.  Sean Connery will forever and always BE Bond.  Everyone else is just playing him.  But don’t handicap this movie because Dalton isn’t Bond.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond.  And while I loved him as a kid, as an adult I realize that he took the franchise in kind of a silly, gimmicky direction.  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I respect what Dalton did with the character.  In Licence to Kill, Bond is a little more believable, a little grittier, a little tougher and a lot more cynical.  In fact, he did what Daniel Craig is currently doing now with the character.  Granted, Craig is a lot better at it, but I digress.  License to Kill doesn’t portray Bond as guy who needs gadgets, but rather as what he’s supposed to be: a highly skilled, cunning, secret agent.  There are one or two cute little Q-Gadgets, but for the most part the movie Bond has to rely on his training and skills.  Furthermore this film features something that is lost in today’s cinema:  STUNTS.  My lord, in a day and age where EVERYTHING is CG’d to death, this film relies on stunt men doing dangerous stunts, on REAL buildings and vehicles exploding.  What a freaking concept!  It looks so much better and cooler when you know that the 18-Wheeler at the end of the film was actually blown up by a stunt coordinator and not a computer geek with a laptop.  One other thing I’d like to point out is the villain of the film, Franz Sanchez.  While Goldfinger, Dr. No, Trevelyan and Blofeld will go down as the most famous Bond villains, it’s a shame that Sanchez gets ignored.  Again, he’s a more realistic villain.  He’s not out to conquer the world or blow up a country, he’s a drug lord out to make money.  Pure and simple.


Anyway, you can hate on Dalton all you want.  Yes, he’s not the best Bond.  But Licence to Kill is a fun, ass-kicking movie with lots of explosions and sweet stunts.  And really, what more can you ask for?